Kevin Eikenberry founded the Kevin Eikenberry Group in 1993 and is the cofounder of the Remote Leadership Institute. He is the creator of the membership-based leadership learning product the Remarkable Leadership Learning System. Eikenberry has twice been named one of Inc.‘s Top 100 Leadership and Management Experts in the World. Wayne Turmel is the cofounder of the Remote Leadership Institute. Turmel is the author or coauthor of seven nonfiction books, including The Long-Distance Leader and Meet Like You Mean It.
Below, Kevin shares 5 key insights from their new book, The Long-Distance Teammate: Stay Engaged and Connected While Working Anywhere. Download the Next Big Idea App to enjoy more audio “Book Bites,” plus Ideas of the Day, ad-free podcast episodes, and more.
1. How you see your job determines your connection—and your results.
Do you see yourself as working from home, or at least working remote from everyone else? If that’s the case, your focus is likely on your own work, and getting things done independently. Or do you see yourself as a teammate? As a teammate, you are more connected to those around you; you want them to succeed while you succeed as well. You feel connected, you feel responsible, you want to support and help others. Similarly, where would you want others to see themselves, or which of these would get you the best results? There’s a big difference between working from home and being an engaged remote teammate.
2. Engagement is a choice.
Organizations spend lots of time and money on employee engagement, but what is it really? It’s more than job satisfaction or a paycheck—when you are engaged, you care. You’re willing to go a little further, to put in more effort. When you are engaged, you likely enjoy your work more, and you likely have stronger relationships with those around you—physically or not. You are both more productive and less stressed. But no one else can make you care. Becoming engaged is totally your choice.
“Building relationships, collaborating, mentoring, supporting, and helping are not just nice to do if you have time; they’re part of the job.”
3. Proactivity is the key to your success.
When it comes to working and leading remotely, we’ve found that proactivity is the common denominator for success. “Proactivity” is defined as acting in anticipation of future problems, needs, or changes. Think about someone you worked with who was anticipating, thinking ahead, thinking bigger. Would you want to work with that person? Of course. The challenge today is for you to be that person, even in the world of remote work. When you are proactive, you will win personally, interpersonally, and professionally.
4. It’s not about you.
Here’s a simple equation: Your job = your work + teamwork. Yes, you need to take care of your key tasks and responsibilities, whatever it says in your job description. But that’s not all—if you want to be a highly effective, engaged, and connected remote teammate, you must realize that your job also includes building trust with others. Building relationships, collaborating, mentoring, supporting, and helping are not just nice to do if you have time; they’re part of the job.
5. Create ethical visibility.
Being noticed and progressing in your career is harder now that you’re remote. If you want to do this well, you need to think about ethical visibility. Being ethically visible means edifying others rather than diminishing them. It means trying to help others grow while also growing yourself. So get your intent right, but realize that especially at a distance, it’s your behaviors that will matter. So what can you do to create ethical visibility? Participate, engage, share your experience, share your knowledge, volunteer for projects, and offer to help.
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