Last Updated on 22 May 2023
Communication is the backbone of any successful team. However, when it comes to remote teams, communication can become a bit challenging. This is because remote teams lack the face-to-face interaction that traditional teams have. As a result, it can be difficult to establish rapport and build relationships with colleagues. This is especially true when dealing with challenging remote colleagues.
Challenging remote colleagues can be those who are difficult to work with, unresponsive, or uncooperative. They can also be those who have different working styles or cultural backgrounds. Whatever the case may be, it is important to find ways to improve communication with them. In this blog post, we will discuss some tips on how to improve communication with challenging remote colleagues.
1. Understand their perspective
The first step in improving communication with challenging remote colleagues is to understand their perspective. Try to put yourself in their shoes and understand their point of view. This can help you identify the root cause of the communication breakdown and find ways to address it.
For example, if a colleague is unresponsive to your emails, it could be because they are overwhelmed with work or have a different communication style. By understanding their perspective, you can adjust your communication style to better suit their needs.
2. Use the right communication tools
Remote teams rely heavily on communication tools to stay connected. However, not all communication tools are created equal. Some tools are better suited for certain types of communication than others.
For example, email is great for formal communication, while instant messaging is better for quick chats. Video conferencing is ideal for face-to-face meetings, while project management tools are great for collaboration. By using the right communication tools, you can improve communication with challenging remote colleagues and make it easier to stay connected.
3. Be clear and concise
When communicating with challenging remote colleagues, it is important to be clear and concise. Avoid using jargon or technical terms that they may not be familiar with. Instead, use simple language and provide clear instructions.
For example, if you are assigning a task to a colleague, be specific about what you want them to do and when you want it done. This can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page.
4. Build rapport
Building rapport with challenging remote colleagues can help improve communication and make it easier to work together. This can be done by taking the time to get to know them on a personal level.
For example, you can start by asking about their interests or hobbies. You can also share some personal information about yourself. This can help establish a connection and build trust.
5. Be patient
Improving communication with challenging remote colleagues takes time and patience. It is important to be patient and not give up if you don’t see immediate results. Keep trying different communication strategies until you find what works best.
For example, if a colleague is unresponsive to emails, try reaching out to them through instant messaging or video conferencing. If they have a different communication style, try adjusting your communication style to better suit their needs.
6. Set expectations
Setting clear expectations is crucial when working with challenging remote colleagues. This can help avoid misunderstandings and ensure that everyone is on the same page. When setting expectations, be specific about what you want to achieve and when you want it done.
For example, if you are working on a project with a challenging remote colleague, set clear deadlines for each task. This can help ensure that the project is completed on time and to the satisfaction of everyone involved.
7. Provide feedback
Providing feedback is essential when working with challenging remote colleagues. This can help them understand what they are doing well and what they need to improve on. When providing feedback, be specific and provide concrete examples.
For example, if a colleague is not meeting deadlines, provide feedback on how they can improve their time management skills. This can help them become more productive and meet deadlines more effectively.
8. Use video conferencing
Video conferencing is a great way to improve communication with challenging remote colleagues. It allows you to have face-to-face meetings without having to be in the same room. This can help establish a connection and build trust.
When using video conferencing, make sure to use a reliable and secure platform. Also, make sure to test the platform before the meeting to avoid any technical difficulties.
9. Be respectful
Respect is essential when working with challenging remote colleagues. It is important to be respectful of their time, opinions, and cultural background. This can help establish a positive working relationship and improve communication.
For example, if a colleague is in a different time zone, be respectful of their working hours and try to schedule meetings at a time that is convenient for them.
10. Celebrate successes
Celebrating successes is important when working with challenging remote colleagues. It can help boost morale and improve communication. When celebrating successes, make sure to include everyone involved in the project or task.
For example, if a project is completed on time and to the satisfaction of everyone involved, celebrate by sending a congratulatory email or having a virtual celebration.
Improving communication with challenging remote colleagues is essential for the success of any remote team. By understanding their perspective, using the right communication tools, being clear and concise, building rapport, being patient, setting expectations, providing feedback, using video conferencing, being respectful, and celebrating successes, you can improve communication and make it easier to work together. Remember, communication is a two-way street, so be open to feedback and willing to adjust your communication style as needed. With these tips, you can build strong relationships with your challenging remote colleagues and achieve your team’s goals.