How engaged in their work are the people in your team? How do you know? These questions are critical to all managers, whether they are looking at teams they manage directly, or are managing projects made up of people spread across the planet over whom they don't have direct control.
- Do I know what is expected of me at work?
- Do I have the materials and equipment that I need in order to do my work right?
- At work, do I have the opportunity to do what I do best every day?
- In the past seven days, have I received recognition or praise for doing good work?
- Does my supervisor, or someone at work, seem to care about me as a person?
- Is there someone at work who encourages my development?
- At work, do my opinions seem to count?
- Does the mission or purpose of my company make me feel that my job is important?
- Are my coworkers committed to doing quality work?
- Do I have a best friend at work?
- In the past six months, has someone at work talked to me about my progress?
- This past year, have I had opportunities at work to learn and grow?
What's interesting is that these questions are, unlike so many tools designed for the workplace, equally applicable in co-located or remote/virtual working situations.
This doesn't mean that it's easy, for example, to have a best friend at work when you don't share a cubicle or a commute. It's not impossible, though. In some ways it's easier because you don't have to watch them eat lunch with their mouth open and slop everywhere, which for many of us is pretty much a deal breaker.
Certainly I would suggest asking these questions of your team members. I think a better first step is to stop and ask yourself how you think your team members would answer them. If you get a nervous tingle in your neck hairs just thinking about the responses, you might well have some things to think about. . .
The next, and probably hardest step, is to actually do something about the areas in which you fall short. Just because you're not physically with them, how might you reach out? What technology would help or hinder that effort?
How's that going to work for you?