How to Choose Your Attitude with a Remote Team

Published On: August 16, 2023Categories: Blog

Let’s not mince words here: for countless managers, executives, and professional team leaders, the move to remote work during the pandemic caused them to pull their hair out in frustration and fear. And when it became clear that work-from-home wouldn’t just go away, this caused even further consternation: many felt like they were forced to either bring employees back to the office against their teams’ will (potentially losing strong talent) or continue to offer remote work as a possibility (making their own jobs harder).

But the most successful leaders turn around and start questioning the premise: what if this isn’t a choice between two evils? What if remote work doesn’t necessarily mean lower productivity and more difficult management? These managers and team leaders embrace the challenge of remote work and adapt their own styles to better suit the needs of teams that are working from home, from the office, and everywhere in between.

This is the final entry in an ongoing series about applying the core principles of the FISH! Philosophy while working remotely. In the last entry we talked about Play and how you can encourage your team to think in creative new ways and find exciting, outside-the-box solutions even when you can’t brainstorm in the same room together. This week, we’ll look at the last pillar of the FISH! Philosophy: Choose Your Attitude

Choose Your Attitude is about setting yourself up for success

Choose Your Attitude sounds so simple, but it can be really difficult in practice. For most of us, our moods, our emotions, and how we present (or hide) them to others isn’t always something we have much control over. In fact, most of us aren’t even aware of what we’re doing or feeling until others point it out. To Choose Your Attitude is to consciously insert yourself into that microscopic moment between feeling and acting, and it requires deep self-awareness and deep insight into our own thoughts, feelings and behaviors.

When we’re able to take a step back and practice mindfulness of our emotions, then we can take that next step forward and make a conscious decision about how (or if) we express those emotions outwardly. When we’re frustrated, do we get curt, snappy, or mean? When we’re sad, do we act withdrawn, fragile, or disengaged? Choosing Your Attitude isn’t about hiding or dismissing these emotions, but rather about acknowledging them–confronting them head-on with love and respect for ourselves so we can plan a way to act most effectively towards others.

Remember your job: get the most out of your team

Most of the dominant frustrations that managers face with remote workforces often boil down to one core fear: the fear of losing control. And that fear makes sense, doesn’t it?

With remote work, it’s so easy to feel that loss of control. After all, if Tony from accounting isn’t responding to your emails, you used to be able to walk down the hall and get that info from him directly–but now you can’t. You used to be able to walk around a conference room and make sure you had everyone’s attention, and now you’re staring at boxes in a Zoom window that may not even have their cameras on. As team leaders, we’re judged on the successes and failures of the people we manage, and the thought that we might not be 100% in control over that can be terrifying.

But what if–instead of responding to that fear by tightening the reins and exerting more control and authority–we interrogated that fear and paused to remember what our goals are: to get the best possible performance out of our team. It’s not to monitor their every working minute, and it’s not to make them show us signs of respect. It’s just to get work done, however the work gets done!

An attitude of trust makes everyone happier and more successful

Choosing Your Attitude in the era of remote work is really about one thing: making a concerted effort to replace an attitude driven by fear to an attitude driven by trust. Trust that your team knows how to do the work they were hired to do. Trust that they’ll ask you for the resources and information they need. Trust that they want to succeed as much as you want them to succeed.

This can be easier said than done, of course–when you’ve got upper leadership breathing down your neck about project deadlines, payroll costs, and KPIs, it’s hard to get out of that mindset of wondering “is this person on the other end of the computer using their time effectively” or “why should I believe that they aren’t goofing off or folding laundry right now?”

But we’ve all worked for a micromanager, right? It’s demoralizing and infantilizing to feel like your boss doesn’t trust you to do your job–and that’s no different whether you’re in the office or working from home. We may not have immediate access to our team in the same ways as we do in the office, but it’s still our job as leaders to choose an attitude of trust in our team and set them up to get the job done, rather than standing over their shoulder to confirm they’re engaged in busy work that may or may not be worth anything.

Prepare yourself for any challenge you face

It can be hard to let go of total control, but trust doesn’t need to mean a laissez-faire approach to leadership. For a remote team to work well, you need to practice the fundamentals of successful management: Checking in regularly, setting reasonable deadlines, and being up-front and transparent about expectations (and the consequences of those expectations going unmet). And not a single one of those fundamentals requires an office.

This is why the best remote managers were typically the best in-person managers too: they know that with a solid, fair, and predictable structure in place for your team with clear expectations and deliverables, you can trust your team to succeed without the need for micromanagement or in-person control. The managers that know what works, what to expect, and how to anticipate potential conflicts or difficult situations are in a better place to choose an attitude of trust, positivity, and teamwork whenever those difficulties inevitably arise.

Ideas to Reflect On:

  • What’s your biggest stressor about managing a remote team? Is it rooted in a loss of control or a loss of perceived authority?
  • When you’re feeling anxious or concerned that a team member isn’t “working hard enough” remotely, ask yourself if there’s concrete evidence you need to follow up on, or if you’re better off by choosing an attitude of trust.
  • Does your team have clear structures and expectations in place, and a clear idea of what they need to get work done? What management tools can you use to set your remote team up for success?

Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and avoid the symptoms of impending burnout. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

Want to Implement FISH! in your organization?

Are you a leader?  Do you train others?  Do you want others to be leaders?

Charthouse Learning, the creator of the world-famous, award-winning, FISH! film is offering an in-person, 2-day workshop, interactive Train-the-Trainer lead by our Senior Trainer.

During our time together you’ll learn how to:

  • Share the motivation and foundation of FISH!
  • Introduce the FISH! film with the four practices.
  • Present the invitation to apply the practices in everyday interaction with others.
  • Build a sustainability and reinforcement program to transform the culture.
  • Pick up tips from other FISH! Philosophers and develop a strategy to embed the practices into the DNA of your culture.
  • Create an energized organization that is the “first choice” for employees, faculty, staff, leaders, and customers.

Plus, you will learn how to create a workplace where people choose to “be and bring” their best self everywhere, every day.

At the FISH! Train the Trainer you will:

  • Dive Deep: Discover The FISH! Philosophy – full of “A-ha!” takeaways and perspective-shifting realizations.
  • Transform: Make the four FISH! practices – Play, Be There, Make Their Day and Choose Your Attitude – an essential part of your professional and personal skill set.
  • Discover: Learn practical ways to apply the FISH! practices to improve teamwork, service, leadership, retention and performance.
  • Develop: Brainstorm strategies to embed The FISH! Philosophy into the DNA of your culture, strengthening your mission, vision and values.
  • Collaborate: Learn and laugh with like-minded folks from across the globe.

Click Here for More FISH! Train the Trainer Information

FISH! Executive Briefing

You have probably heard about the Culture Shift in the news. Organizations are struggling to find talent, employee morale is low, retention is a common goal and customers are dissatisfied with buying experiences.

These are all symptoms of an underlying challenge leadership is faced with every day, regardless of the industry. You can look for temporary relief or an overall, long-term cure.

Join us for a 60-minute webinar on the world-famous, award-winning FISH! practices.

Click Here for More FISH! Executive Briefing Information


Whether you work in business, education, or healthcare, FISH! offers accessible, intuitive solutions to empower your workers, bring your team together, and introduce Play into your organization. We invite you to contact us today at 800.695.4534 or to speak with our cultural specialists, who will help you find the right FISH! Philosophy solutions that will nurture your organizational culture and motivate your team!

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