The 10 Successful Traits Every Remote Leader Must Have

Traditional Leadership Models Need to Shift Gears to Create Successful Remote & Hybrid Teams.

“The future will be more hybrid. Prior to the COVID-19 crisis, the majority of organizations required employees to spend most of their time on-site. But as the pandemic eases, executives say that the hybrid model—in which employees work both remotely and in the office—will become far more common.”

McKinsey & Company

Although at the beginning of COVID many thought that the remote/hybrid work model was a temporary stop gap until we could all return safely to work, when in fact what we have experienced is a complete paradigm shift in how organisations operate ongoing. Remote/Hybrid work models, although not a new thing, are now being regarded as the best way forward for the majority of previously facility based workers. This increased adoption of Hybrid and Remote models has become a part of an evolving corporate landscape that will never go back again, creating a new range of performance challenges for leaders.

Traditional approaches to leading teams don’t automatically work when simply transferred straight into a Hybrid model. Many leaders are finding that they are now faced with a focus on developing new skills to maintain relevance and manage the performance of their teams. The essential difference between the traditional and the Remote/Hybrid leadership model is how workflow is managed, the emotional focus and the personal attention given to developing a range of relevant professional and personal skills.

The comparison chart below highlights some of the differences between traditional and hybrid leadership approaches. These have been separated into professional and personal leadership categories, to highlight some of the differences in focus.

Go through the list and conduct a quick self-assessment comparing how your current leadership style stacks up against the Remote/Hybrid Focus. For further explanation of Remote and Hybrid traits, refer to the detailed definitions below the table.


Traditional Leadership Traits

Remote/Hybrid Leadership Traits


Skill Focus


Skill Focus

Competence Knowedge & Technical Discovery Increased Learning & Exploration
Visionary Immovable End Goal Adaptability Flexible Strategies to End Goal
Directional Decisive Implementer Collaborative Increased Inclusion
Organisational Skills Planned & Focused Productive Habits Creates Synergy & Work Flow
Communicator Generalist Communicator Digital Literacy – Written and Virtual



Empathetic Support Relational Issues – Reactive Empathetic Preventative Connected & Aware, Strong EI
Boundaries Less Familiaristaion with Team Authenticity Real, Raw & Transparent
Trustworthy Reliable & Consistent Trustworthy Reliable and Consistent
Value Driven Organisational Alignment Value Focused Personal & Organisational Alignment
Resilient Face Opposition Resilient Strength to Support Team Fragmentation


Increased learning and exploration. This approach requires a higher emphasis on engaging individuals within the team, increasing their contributions to explore and discover new ways of reaching solutions, to process and people management requirements. The result of this more open ended approach is to establish a culture of learning which expands overall team knowledge and continuous improvement, finding new ways forward.

Flexible strategies to end goal. One of the core requirements of leading remote teams is the ability to form adaptation skills. When things change and the goal posts move, leaders need to be able to re-route quickly and apply the best practice approaches in order to form effective contigencies and minimise risk impact.

Increased Inclusion. In a remote/hybrid team the need to create inclusive approaches to gain buy-in and give the team the feeling of being “in this together” takes on new meaning. Due to nature of the relational fragmentation and communication challenges, the remote model creates an intentional strategy of inclusion and becomes vital for leaders to maintain culture cohesion.

Productive Habits:
Creates synergy and workflow. The ability to lead people and help them to adapt to a workflow and routine that supports their unique situation is critical.

Digital literacy – Written and verbal. The ability to manage communication through written and verbal technologies successfully with strategic objectives. Digital literacy is part of the upgraded multi skill set that leaders need to develop as non-verbal, written communication is dramatically increased in a remote/hybrid model.


Preventitive connected and aware, strong EI. This requires creating frameworks that are proactive strategies to attend to the emotional and mental health of the team. In a Hybrid/Remote model it is harder to detect issues sitting under the surface due to limited exposure. Leaders need to have consistent touch points that check in with each individual to provide support and to stay on top of any underlying issues that may create potential performance issues.

Real, raw and transparent. Employees need to have role models that are open and real and if so, it increases the buy-in and respect they have for their leaders. People will not respect detached, superficial, fake and emotionally closed leaders. People will relate to the vunerability that eminates from the struggle and the strength, both are vital for leaders in the Hybrid/Remote model.

Reliable and consistent. In order to maintain performance standards, leaders need to demonstrate a consistency and reliability to build team confidence and trust. If the leader can be relied upon in their operational and relational consistency, the easier it will be to maintain accountability and performance standards. As the ability to observe and monitor employees is greatly reduced in this model, extra attention to create deeper two-way trust lines can compensate.

Value Focused:
Personal and organisational alignment. Leaders who demonstrate strong personal values that align to organisational values, inspire engagement and high standards from their team. This helps to motivate employees in Hybrid/Remote models to maintain aligned behaviour and make independant decisions, without the normal support structures of the physical work environment.

Strength to support team fragmentation. Leaders are called upon in this model to have a strategy for team resilience. As this type of team is fragmented and the relational interaction is reduced, it is important to have practical support to help manage the emotional needs of the team. If leaders fail to pay attention to this area, motivation and engagement levels tend to drop which can quite quickly lead to retention risk.

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