I like all of Kevin’s 5 skills, but this one to me is paramount because when I’ve been part of a remote team, every single failure ultimately came back to this:
“Be a flexible communicator
Certainly, leaders must be good communicators. But when your team is spread hither and yon, you must be proficient and comfortable with a wider variety of communication tools (more than face-to-face and email). At least as important is knowing the situations in which each tool is more appropriate and effective. These considerations require a higher and more complex set of communication skills.”
I’ve often described it as needing to over-communicate, because to me it’s not enough to send an email and assume everyone saw it, and read it, though they should do that. There needed to be follow-up, and clarification often. Or, a comment made in the middle of a team meeting needed to be flushed out more fully, with a written communication that could be referred to instead of having that comment be the end all be all of what was being expected.
In short, you must always be vigilant about everyone being on the same page. When something is off, it will take a lot longer to find that out when your team is remote, and a lot longer to get it corrected.
That being said, it’s possible, and Kevin’s list is an excellent way to think about how to do it.