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Creative Techniques for Leading Remote & Global Teams with Charlie Nelson (Ep. #61)

The BetterManager Team
Building Better Managers Podcast Episode 61 - Charlie Nelson

Building Better Managers Podcast Episode #61: Creative Techniques for Leading Remote & Global Teams with Charlie Nelson

If your organization has embraced a hybrid or fully-remote work model, your managers need to be equipped with an array of adaptable and effective tools for team development, including coaching. Today’s guest, Charlie Nelson, is responsible for all aspects of worldwide operations for SmartRecruiters, including GTM & distribution strategy and performance optimization. Translation: he knows a thing or two about how to lead, coach, and develop teams.

In the time since SmartRecruiters committed to a fully remote workforce in 2020, Charlie has developed a number of terrific strategies for getting the absolute most out of his remote teams, including a technique he calls “watching game tape.” By watching recordings of his remote calls, observing and listening for things like body language, intonation, and technical details that are tough to gauge in real time, Charlie illuminates and pinpoints opportunities for improved performance. Learn about how this radical transparency aligns the organization around shared goals and drives business outcomes.

In this episode:

Meet Charlie Nelson

  • Charlie is currently responsible for all aspects of worldwide operations for SmartRecruiters, including GTM & distribution strategy, performance optimization, and business insights. Prior to that, Charlie drove enterprise sales at Identified, which was acquired by Workday in 2014.
  • A veteran of making human resources and recruiting professionals successful, Charlie earned his BA from the University of Washington.

Leading Through Empath, Vulnerability, Authenticity & Transparency

  • Leading with empathy and vulnerability can be very effective. Start conversations by talking about something that is personal to you, to see how people respond and react. Are they paying attention? Do they want to build connection? Or is this a transaction for them? Are they someone that really wants to get to know you?
  • Because the other side of being a good manager is that people manage you just as much as you manage them!
  • So asking questions, leading with vulnerability, providing that safety net to determine whether or not these people are in it with you, is the key.

Accountability & Remote Teams

  • The performance expectations of most jobs really hasn't changed, but the way that we maybe go about performing them and the environment in which perform them definitely has.
  • Most roles are measured through performance - data or reports or dashboards that you can look at to help measure if people are meeting expectations.
  • It really hasn't changed that much, you should still be looking at the data and tracking against targets, but you should know your people well enough to be able to understand how they're showing up to work as well.
  • When you're good at connecting with your employees, you'll have a lot of insight into some things that are (or are not!) happening before you get any truly unexpected numbers.

Making Radical Candor Part of the Culture

  • You just have to be comfortable setting the expectation that this is the culture, that radical candor just comes with the job - you're gonna get the good and the bad and the ugly.
  • But you need to encourage it the other way as well, "And I want you to give it to me, too!"
  • If they don't like how you show up to a meeting, or if you say something that seems out of whack, they need to be comfortable calling you out on it.
  • At the end of the day, we're all developing one another. Even though you manage eight people, those people can also help manage you, if you do it right!

Next Steps

  • Even though SmartRecruiters has made the decision to be "remote first for ever," we recognize the importance of face-to-face interactions -being intentional about coaching and leading with vulnerability does have an advantage in those face-to-face meetings.
  • I'm trying to find opportunities to pull together people on on a regular basis - that could be grabbing cocktails with the people that live in the same area, or it can be seeing if a prospect would be willing to have us come on site. (Just don't over do it, because people do want to get back to the place where they get work done.)
  • When employees are being onboarded into a remote environment, be aware of the ones that have never met not only their peers, but have never met their boss in person! How do you accelerate learning curves? How do you establish loyalty and trust?
  • While some things may be boxes that we have to check, we do want to avoid it being just a transactional relationship with our new hires, and existing staff as well! You really need to find different ways to connect with your employees.

Downloads & Resources

Follow Charlie on LinkedIn.

Subscribe to our podcast on your favorite podcast platform!

Check out our blog articles on Leadership here.

Charlie Nelson

Charlie is currently responsible for all aspects of worldwide operations for SmartRecruiters, including GTM & distribution strategy, performance optimization, and business insights. Prior to that, Charlie drove enterprise sales at Identified, which was acquired by Workday in 2014. A veteran of making human resources and recruiting professionals successful, Charlie earned his BA from the University of Washington.

Episode Transcript
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