Tips for Managing a Decentralized Team

Michael A. Olguin writes for

“Follow this five-step program to help you manage a workforce scattered over various offices and locations”

The main points are Olguins, the commentary is mine! (Russ Cline)

#1) Clear Understanding of Program/Project Objectives

If we’re not clear in what we’re trying to accomplish, distance has a way of messing the message up. Before you know it, you experience a thing called “mission creep”, where you wake up one day and you realize that you are either doing your own thing, or you’ve strayed from the objectives that have been defined by the leader and the team.

#2) Communicate, Communicate, Communicate

When there’s distance, it’s important to not only let your supervisor know what’s going on, but it’s important to let the other team members know what you’re working on. You need to compensate for the distance by over-communicating.

#3) Clearly Defined Roles and Responsibilities

Each team member needs to have a clearly defined role and job description.If changes are made to your work function, be sure to communicate that to the rest of the team.

#4) Don’t Rely on Nonverbal Communication

It’s easy to fall into the habit of just using email or texting to communicate. You need to speak to each other verbally, you need to be able to see each other when possible. Use all forms of communication, and don’t get stuck on just one.

#5) Flexibility

When you’re working across timezones, you have to be flexible. Be sure that each team member takes a turn at being flexible, and that it’s not just one person who’s always giving in. Work extra hard to support your team from a distance.


Working on a decentralized team has it’s advantages and it’s drawbacks. Work hard to make it work!

More on Building a Team CLICK HERE


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