The Keys to Successfully Leading Remote Teams

Poor signal. businessman searching for mobile phone signal in desert

“Hope is not a strategy.”

In season 23 episode 4, John Eades covers five key strategies for successfully leading remote team members.  


5 Key Strategies for Successfully Leading a Remote Team

  1. Remember Remote Team Members are Human
  2. Build and Maintain Trust-Based Relationships
  3. Set Clear Standards
  4. Constantly Communicate Culture
  5. Get Them Together Face-to-Face

Specific topics include:

– Why trust is so important with remote employees

– Why employees deserve to be led better

– How to see people as human when they are remote

– Why clear standards are important

– How often to talk about values and culture

Elevate the Way You LeadBuilding the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill and debuted as a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead.

About the Author: John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

Why Successful Leaders Always Coach Their Employees

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There are thousands of professionals all across the world who call themselves “leaders.” In reality, the vast majority are leaders in title alone. While they have direct reports and authority over others because of seniority or prior performance, they aren’t actually leading; they’re managing. 

One of the ways a leader separates themselves from being a manager is by coaching their people. A coach, by definition, is one who trains and instructs. The late great John Whitmore took the formal definition even further saying:

“Coaching is unlocking people’s potential and helping them learn rather than teaching them.”

Leaders who coach others have never been more critical than they are today. A strong, dedicated leader plays an integral role in elevating people to new heights of development, exactly how John Whitmore envisioned it.  

Coaching involves a focus on your people’s role development (skill) and beyond (life).  

Coaching for Role Development

Focusing your coaching efforts on the progression of each team member’s development in their current role helps them to reach their full potential. While it’s each professional’s responsibility to develop their skills, you can play a significant role in assisting them in growing. Which is why the quote from Tracy Spears is so essential, “coach them up or coach them out.”

There are four clear stages a person moves through in a role. Well-tuned leaders are able to identify where a team member is currently in their development and align their coaching appropriately. The goal is simple: help your people reach a stage of development that exceeds where they are today. 

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The Most Important Thing to Remember

While there are different activities you should engage in at the various levels of role development, there is one coaching tactic that is somewhat effective at all levels. It’s centered around asking great questions. This allows you to pull the information out of your people instead of the other way around.  

Delivering the answer to a question is quick and effective. However, it rarely does anything to encourage a person’s development. It would be best if you rejected your natural instinct to solve every problem. Instead, use questions to pull the answers out of your team members. During an interview with Michael Bungay Stanier, the author of The Coaching Habit, explained this well. He told me, “Leaders should stay curious a little bit longer and rush to advice-giving a little bit slower.” By taking this approach, you are forcing team members out of their comfort zone and encouraging them to be more self-reflective.  

Use open-ended questions, free of judgment. Here are some of my favorite examples to add to your arsenal:

  • What can I do to help you?
  • Walk me through your thought process
  • What do you think we should do to create the best result for everyone?
  • What other approaches might you take next time?

Regardless of how good or bad you are at coaching your people, remember my favorite Latin phrase, “Nunc Coepi.” Which means “Now I begin” and decide to be a coach to your people starting right now. 

Elevate the Way You LeadBuilding the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success is published by McGraw-Hill and debuted as a #1 Best Seller on Amazon. Learn the stories, principles, and tools to help elevate the way you lead.

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About the AuthorJohn Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company that exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

How to Own Your Mornings and Elevate Your Life

“You are never going to get to the next level of your leadership and impact if you’re terrified of who you were yesterday.”

In season 23, episode 1, we are joined by Robin Sharma.  He is the author of the best selling books, The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari and The 5 AM Club. His ideas and messages have transformed the lives of millions of leaders all over the world. You can follow him here.  


In this episode we cover:

  • Why SoulCycle is an excellent example of why you should turn up your resistance
  • How to tap into your greatness
  • Who is Robin’s Spellbinder
  • How to get to the center of humility
  • The four parts of the personal mastery equation
  • What is the 5 AM Club
  • Why our phones are costing us our fortune
  • What’s the 20/20/20 formula
  • What you can do if you aren’t a morning person
  • Why learning hits you right when you need it
  • How to handle criticism
  • Why it’s important, you put your light in the world
  • How you can influence without authority

Why You Should Lean Into Your Weaknesses

There’s a trend to only focus on your strengths. While I agree you should capitalize on you’re strengths, Leaders are doing everyone a disservice (including themselves) if they don’t work to improve in areas they are weakest.

If you’re only focusing on your strengths, that means you’re ignoring the other areas required to be an effective leader. Think differently. Change your mentality. Maybe you’re struggling with accountability, difficult conversations, setting standards, or having empathy. Identify your weaknesses, and then lean into them. Do the work.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Need Help Developing Leadership Skills of Your Managers? Developing managers into leaders is difficult. A great step is providing a formal development opportunity such as the Building the Best Assessment and Workshop.  Learn more here.

Why So Many Managers Fail to Become Leaders

It’s ironic the reward for being good at your job is a promotion to a job you haven’t done before (and most often requires a completely different skill set). 

Organizations are promoting people into management positions frequently. Most people are promoted without any formal leadership training, and instead, rest solely on the fact they were great in their previous role. Yet, research done by the CEB shows that 60 percent of new managers in the United States fail every single year. What gives? 

The vast majority of managers fail to become leaders because they don’t do the work or put in the effort required to become one. They want the title, but not the work associated with actually becoming a leader. As Austin Kleon said,

“Lots of people want to be the noun, without doing the verb.”

While many still want to throw all the blame on their organizations for lack of professional development, there are three other intrinsic reasons why people fail when they’re promoted into positions of leadership outside of hard work. Luckily, if you have the self-awareness to notice these traits in yourself, you also have the ability to change your thinking — if you’re committed to becoming a leader. 

1. They only care about money.

Money is a powerful thing because you need it to provide for yourself plus it can also buy cool things and create incredible experiences. Money by itself is not a bad thing. The problem arises when money becomes the only thing.  

George Lorimer said it well, “It’s good to have money and the things that money can buy, but it’s good, too, to check up once in a while and make sure that you haven’t lost the things that money can’t buy.”  

Becoming a leader is filled with skills that require things money can’t buy. Certainly, money can buy commitment and hard work from some in the short-term, but eventually, that carrot runs out.  

If money is your only motivation, examine the purpose behind the work you do. Regardless of industry or profession, there is always a positive impact and deeper purpose in the work you do. Channel your inner Simon Sinek and uncover your “Why.”

2. They can’t stop thinking about themselves.

Each and every one of us wakes up thinking about ourselves. The last time you looked at a group picture what did you look at first? I guarantee you scanned the picture to look for yourself. We all do it. Selfishness is a battle we face whether we like it or not.  

Here’s where the challenge lies: leadership is all about other people. In the Building the Best book, I define a leader as “someone whose actions inspire, empower, and serve in order to elevate others over an extended period of time.” Professionals who can’t stop thinking about themselves can’t become an effective leader because it’s impossible for them to elevate other people.  

If you can’t stop thinking about yourself and only what’s in your best interest try the PTS method. Anytime you change environments say to yourself “prepare to serve.” It will help reset your mindset from serving yourself to serving other people.  

3. They think they’re a leader, well before they are.

There’s a clear difference between a boss/manager and someone being seen as a leader. My company, LearnLoft, has spent years studying what the best and most effective leaders do and codified it to help new managers make the leap. Through this work, we have also seen the other side of the coin. Managers who think they are effective leaders but their people tell a much different story.

This is most common in Executives because they have risen to positions of power and prestige, so in their mind, it doesn’t make sense to do things differently. Professionals from company executives to front line managers who are making the biggest strides in the development of their leadership skills are humble enough to admit they can grow and get better.

Remember, leadership is a journey and not a destination. Keep your development hat on your entire career because elevating other people is something anyone is capable of in the workforce, but few choose to do. It has absolutely nothing to do with a title and everything to do with actions. 

 Your life and career will get richer if you take the development of your leadership skills seriously.  

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Need Help Developing Leadership Skills of Your Managers? Developing managers into leaders is difficult. A great step is providing a formal development opportunity such as the Building the Best Assessment and Workshop.  Learn more here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn professionals into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on Instagram @johngeades.

One Thing You THINK You Do, But You Actually Don’t

Most people (spouses excluded) won’t call you out, but they’re definitely judging you based on how well you listen when they’re talking. Active Listening is a skill you have to constantly sharpen, but one that’s often forgotten because it’s considered “too basic”.

When I say “active listening” I’m not talking about nodding your head, or agreeing with the other person, or even making intense, venturing on creepy, eye contact. If you want to seem like you’re listening, go ahead and practice those things. But active listeners PROVE they’re listening by doing these three things:

  1. Anchor Yourself. Be present in the conversation. If you can’t commit to being present, be honest and ask if you can have the conversation another time.
  2. Survey What’s Being Said. Ask great questions to ensure you understand or get to a deeper level of understanding.
  3. Show You Listened. Use what you heard. Whether it was a request to do something differently or just information you needed, show you listened by recalling the information at a later date or by doing what they asked you to do.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead a team and want to elevate the way you lead? Apply to join the Ultimate Leadership Academy. A virtual leadership development program which includes the EO 360° Assessment and Report, 4 Live Instructor-Led Training Webinars and One-On-One Coaching. Learn more here.

5 Critical Skills You Must Develop to Become a Great Leader

For as long as I can remember, I dreamed of being a leader. I loved achieving things as a team and the feeling of camaraderie over individual successes. There is something significant about going through a journey with others and being victorious. But I quickly found out that just because you dream about or love something doesn’t mean you are going to be great at it.

My first opportunity leading others professionally proved to be a disaster. I ended up being living proof that Jocko Willink’s quote about leadership is true.

“There are no bad teams just bad leaders.”

I failed my team, but I knew it didn’t have to end that way. I made a commitment to develop my own skills and help others develop theirs. After years of studying, practicing, applying, and writing about what the best leaders do, I am confident there are 5 critical skills every leader must develop in order to become the best leader that can be. These skills do not have to be completed in order and you will probably find that you already have a high skill level in some or most of them.

1. Coaching

All coaching interactions between you and your people should have a common theme: make an individual better, not tear them down. You should proactively be coaching an individual based on their skills. Skill is defined as “the ability to do something well.” It is imperative that you understand the four levels of skill development to best serve your people. These include; Awareness, Building Critical Mass, Accelerated Performance, and Sustained Excellence. Different tactics and techniques are necessary during your coaching conversation, dependent on where a team member is within the four levels.

But coaching doesn’t end with skills. You must go beyond focusing on skill development and contribute to the long-term success and well being of your people. Focus in on the whole person and helping them become the best version of themselves both inside and outside of work.

2. Communication

The vast majority of conflict in a work environment or any relationship can be blamed on poor communication. Many leaders do not place enough emphasis on and put enough effort into being clear communicators. When a leader or team does not properly communicate, assumptions are made. This results in people being unsure about where they stand or how they are supposed to behave. Making it a priority every day to be a great communicator and choosing to over- vs under-communicate will help avoid these issues.

3. Relationship Building

Relationships are the center of everything. As such, the relationships you build with others must be based on trust and mutual respect. Where most leaders struggle is in understanding their responsibility to earn those two things. Long gone are the days of a title earning the respect of those you lead. In today’s workplaces, a title should only be a reminder of your responsibility to earn trust and respect from your people.

4. Teaching

One of the best ways to help set people up for success in the future is to be a teacher to others. In order to do this, it requires something you probably feel you have little to give away; TIME.

Set aside time in your schedule or find time in a moment of need, but either way don’t hesitate to grab a white board and teach.

When you share your passion, competence, and experience with others, you make an impact that lasts a lifetime

If you don’t have the expertise in a particular area that needs to be taught, point people in the right direction and financially support their development.

5. Soft “Real” Skills

People love to use the term “soft” skills when referring to skills like emotional intelligence, empathy, and courage. I refer to them as REAL skills. More importantly than how they are labeled, each of them is a set of skills that can be measured and learned.

Emotional Intelligence: Is getting your emotions to work for you instead of against you. It has three key parts: Identifying emotions, understanding emotions, and managing emotions.

Empathy: How well you are able to identify with your team to understand their feeling and perspectives, in order to guide your actions.

Courage: Being scared or fearing something and deciding to do it anyways.

All three of these “Real” Skills are paramount in order to be a successful leader.

Every leader began somewhere. If you are anything like most leaders, it’s safe to say you didn’t take your job of leading others seriously enough early on. You probably just winged it or did what came naturally. This is what has created a low quality of leaders in the current workplace. The latest statistics show 60% of new leaders fail within the first 18 months of their job. Additionally, the vast majority of people don’t have confidence in the leaders they currently have.

In order for you to excel as a leader, you must work hard to understand, master, and apply these five skills on an ongoing basis.

Building the Best Leadership Workshop Do you lead a team and want to go to elevate the way you lead? Don’t miss out on the opportunity to participate in the Building the Best Leadership Workshop on June 25th in Charlotte, NC. Learn more and sign up here.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Success and host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

What Bad Leaders Consistently Get Wrong About Discipline

One of your direct reports disregards a rule. What do you do?

Do you let it slide because they are a top performer? Do make excuses for them because they might not know better? Do you fire them to send a message to your team? 

It all comes down to discipline, and not in the way you’re probably thinking.

Most leaders think of discipline as a negative. In reality, discipline is what you do for someone not to someone. My company LearnLoft defines discipline in the Elevate Others Leadership Report as “to promote standards in order for an individual to choose to be at their best.”

Discipline allows you to set high standards for what’s expected and hold people accountable to the choices they decide to make every day. As former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell once said,

“The essence of leadership is holding your people to the highest possible standard while taking the best possible care of them.”

He’s right, and he exposes a fundamental truth that the best leaders understand about discipline: It’s essential to set a really high bar and to care.

If you want to be a more disciplined leader, follow these three steps: 

1. Focus on your relationships.

If the quality of your relationships are continually getting better, discipline becomes much more comfortable. The vast majority of leaders with whom I have the opportunity to coach in the Ultimate Leadership Coaching Program overestimate the strength of the relationships with individuals on their team. I coach them to evaluate their relationships based on these four keys factors:

  • Bond of Mutual Trust
  • Amount of Enjoyment
  • Quality of Communication
  • Shared Values and Commonalities

Like any relationship, the key for it to grow and strengthen is your most limited resource: time. Carve out time in your busy schedule to invest in these relationships. 

2. Set clear standards and gain buy-in.

Dabo Swinney, Clemson University’s championship-winning football coach, has a mantra: “Best is the standard.” A standard defines what good looks like. I’ve come to realize that the very best leaders don’t just determine what good looks like–they define what great looks like. 

While only you can determine what great looks for your team, one common standard all leaders have to decide upon is how their weekly team meetings are run. A good standard for a team meeting is everyone shows up on time and isn’t distracted during the time you are together. A great standard is everyone shows up on time, and each team member comes prepared to share three things:

  • What they did last week to move the needle
  • What they are working on this week
  • Where they need help

Think long and hard about what great looks like for your team. Once you’ve determined that, communicate it as clearly as you can to your people. That’s how you gain their buy-in. If you fail to attain their buy-in, your standard won’t be met very often.

3. Create a culture of accountability.

Now, the hard part starts. You must hold yourself and the entire team accountable for meeting and exceeding your standards.

I define accountability in my upcoming book Building the Best as “the obligation of an individual or an organization to account for its activities, accept responsibility for them and disclose the results in a transparent manner.” The key word is “obligation.”

You have an obligation to yourself and your team to create a culture of accountability so you help build the best people you possibly can. Get in the habit of inspecting what you expect so the entire team knows how interested and involved you are. When a team member fails, meets or exceeds the standard, have direct dialogues to share disapproval, acknowledgment or praise.

And above all: Never lose sight of the enormous responsibility and opportunity you have to help elevate others.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

5 Levels of Company Culture and How to Impact Yours Positively

We have all heard the famous quote from Peter Drucker, “culture eats strategy for breakfast.” While there have been compelling arguments on both sides of the equation, there is no doubt company culture is important.

Unfortunately, most people don’t understand what culture means. LearnLoft defines culture as the shared values and beliefs that guide thinking and behavior. Turns out your organization has a culture and it’s being shaped and molded every single day whether you like it or now.

In order to get a pulse on employee engagement and culture, most company leaders leverage a yearly employee engagement survey. This isn’t enough. Measuring culture is the least important part of the company culture journey. The most important part is impacting it.

It’s Not Your Job to Measure Culture, It’s Your Job to Impact It.

In my Hacking HR talk, I discuss the 5 Levels of Culture from our research, the building blocks that make up the culture and a specific way impact it in a positive way.

What LearnLoft has found from our research is distinct differences in the characteristics of some organizational cultures vs. others. Here are 5 levels of company culture including characteristics and takeaways to help your organization.

Level 1: Toxic

No one wants to work in a Toxic culture. That’s evident because only a small percentage of organizations last when they have a Toxic culture. The organizations that do last typically have a revolutionary idea or technology.

You would be able to identify if your organization has a Toxic culture if there is a “churn and burn” mentality with employees or there is no sense of connection with team members. Tocix cultures make up 11.8 percent of companies researched.

The takeaway: If you are currently working in a Toxic culture with no sign of change in executive leadership, now is the time to start looking elsewhere for employment.

Level 2: Deficient

Deficient is better than a Toxic, but by no means is it a great place to work. An easy way to identify a Deficient culture is by observing a workplace. You can tell a drastic difference between an executive leader and a non-executive. They have separate office spaces, conference rooms, printers, lunchrooms, and parking spaces.

While most would say this is normal because of the traditional workspaces of the 90’s what it does is build physical or invisible walls between team members and their ability to connect. Causing a lack of innovation, creativity, and teamwork. Deficient cultures make up 49 percent of teams studied.

The takeaway: Working in a Deficient culture will take a major toll on your professional and personal happiness. Try and introduce culture building things like pot-luck lunches, or open innovation meetings. These are the first steps to see if executive leadership will get behind new ways of employee connection.

Level 3: Common

Common culture is the second most popular culture making up 23 percent or companies studied. I like to think of these cultures as those where the “few carry the weight of many.” A few top performers are “all-in” and carry the organization about as far as it possibly can go.

Common cultures typically share additional characteristics such as low to medium turnover and struggle to integrate different generations within the workplace.

The takeaway: The best way to get out of a Common culture is to begin changing the attitude and language that team members are used to using. Try reducing workplace gossip and calling team members out who bring a negative attitude to work.

Level 4: Advanced

Advanced is a big step up from Common because you get into cultures wherein people seek out opportunities to be a part of what is going on. There is always a direct connection between the work being done and the purpose of what the organization does in the world.

Executive leaders proactively work to shape and mold the culture daily. It’s weaved in all areas of the business from hiring, to employee development, to constant communication. Advanced cultures make up 11 percent of teams studied.

The takeaway:  Run surveys or host open roundtables across the organization to identify things executive leadership can do to further improve the workplace environment.

Level 5: Elite

Elite cultures are the best of the best. These are highly connected work environments from the C-Suite to the lowest level employees. In Elite cultures, words and phrases are powerful and are used all the time to the point where they become habits. (For example, at any Chick-fil-A restaurant you hear their employees say “my pleasure”)

A few additional characteristics include: teams see a future working together; other organizations look to mimic or copy its culture, and they consistently exceed growth targets. Elite cultures make up about 5 percent of organizations studied.

The takeaway: Staying at the top will be the challenge. As turnover in founders or executive leaders begins to happen continuing to stay connected to the organization’s purpose and core values will be a challenge. But if anyone can do it, your organization certainly can.

Here is the best part, every organization or team has the ability and capacity to be an elite culture. Just know changing cultures takes a lot of time, energy and effort but in the end, it will be well worth it.

Free Company Culture Assessment Discover what culture level exists within your organization for free.

About the AuthorJohn Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.

How the Best Leaders Find Success With Limited Time

Organizations today seem to be on a mission to get more out of less. The best example of this is fewer employees with more responsibility. Often this ends up with a role I call the “two-way” leader. Not only do they have to perform their own job function but they are also responsible for managing a team of people.

If you find yourself in the role of a “two-way” leader the best advice I have for you is to stop striving to be balanced. It is impossible to split your time 50/50 between your two jobs. Instead, make the leadership of other people a priority. Learn more from my LinkedIn video.

Ultimate Leadership Academy Do you lead others but your company doesn’t offer a leadership development program? Don’t worry, join LearnLoft’s Ultimate Leadership Academy designed specifically to elevate the way you lead. Learn more here.

What’s Your Leadership Style? Join over 40k leaders and discover how well you are leveraging love and discipline as a leader and find out your current leadership style for free.

About the Author John Eades is the CEO of LearnLoft, a leadership development company which exists to turn managers into leaders and create healthier places to work. John was named one of LinkedIn’s 2017 Top Voices in Management & Workplace and was awarded the 2017 Readership Award by Training Industry.com. John is also the author the upcoming book Building the Best: 8 Proven Leadership Principles to Elevate Others to Successand host of the “Follow My Lead” Podcast, a show that transfers stories and best practices from today’s leaders to the leaders of tomorrow. You follow him on instagram @johngeades.