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Communicating With Remote Teams: Apply Best Intent Approach

Working remotely doesn't just change our work environment, it changes our memory of what it's like to work with someone. It's easier to question someone's ability or talent if you're not seeing that play out in front of you. 

It's one of the reasons getting face time with team members and managers was important prior to the coronavirus pandemic. Work from home policies change those dynamics and it can change the attitude we have toward our team members.  


Distrust in virtual settings is a gradual shift that starts showing up in the way we send emails or start meetings.

Something like, "No pressure, but I'm expecting that report done in a couple days." or "I expect everyone to be on the call tomorrow, no excuses." On the surface those comments are an example of how to clearly communicate with your team. 

But imagine that email or statement coming out of the blue, without any other context.  There's a tinge of distrust and hostility that comes through. An assumption that a team member isn't doing what he's supposed to do or that the team as a whole isn't prepared to show up. 

Meanwhile the people receiving that message feel attacked for something they were already doing or planning to do because they are still talented and capable of doing their job and conscientious of their role on the team. 

It's a stress filled time for everyone. Remove some of the stress created by your conversations and apply the Best Intent Approach. Simply put that means you assume the best before preparing for and reacting to the worst-case scenario.

Before you assume your team isn't planning to dial in to the mandatory meeting or assume a team member is slacking and incapable of doing his job, remind yourself of what you do know about the talent and execution level of your team. 


If there's a specific communication challenge you'd like me to address, send me an email [email protected] and I'll create a video just for you!


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