long-distance teammate

by Chip R. Bell

Dear Long-Distance Leader.  If you will provide a partnership-like relationship with me, it will free you up from having to “snoopervise” me.  Here are my aspirations for how we might work together in the future.

I will work harder, longer, and with greater zeal when I am convinced my work matters.  I am not a human form of a capital asset; I need a purpose.  My laptop does what it is programmed to do, but I have a soul and a heart that cries out for relevance.  I not only need to know where I fit and what I am working to accomplish, I need to know the link between my toil and the progress of the organization for which I toil.  Give me a sense of purpose; I promise I will give you superior productivity.

I need your complete trust.  When I am micromanaged, I feel devalued.  If I make mistakes, and I very likely will, I need your wisdom, encouragement and coaching.  A scolding, guilt trip, or belittling only makes me angry.  Please don’t tell me about how I am empowered; it sounds like a conditional bargain.  If you do not trust me to make smart decisions because you are uncertain of my competence to do so, please train me.  I promise you if I am uncaged, I will soar and make you look good.

I am not out here alone on some outpost.  I need meaningful connections with the mother ship.  I need opportunities, even if online, to communicate with others for ideas, suggestions, and friendship.  I need a forum for my curiosity.  I need you to keep me updated on changes, not just assigned my tasks and left alone.  Communication is a critical part of all healthy partnerships, especially when I am “far from home.”  I promise to keep you in my communications loop since I know our connection must be two-way.

My work no longer fits the conventions of the office or plant with its norms that govern work style.  I can take a break when I want and even work in my pajama bottoms.  My dog never barked in the background at the office.  It all means I am now working in the pasture, not in the pen.  With a taste of unfettered control, I have grown aware of subtle muzzles I never noticed before.  My work is no longer driven by the content of my in-box, but by my allegiance to our collective goals.  I promise to use my freedom with respect and responsibility.  I will not go rogue on you. 

Be patient with me as my inner discipline replaces external discipline.  Please know that I am fully aware freedom must be exercised with accountability and fidelity to those I serve, including teammates, customers, and you.  I promise to be a great team player by keeping my focus on our charge and delivering my best.

About the Author

Chip R. Bell is a renowned keynote speaker and the author of several best-selling books.  Global Gurus in 2020 ranked him for the sixth year in a row in the top three keynote speakers in the world on customer service.  His newest book is the best-selling Inside Your Customer’s Imagination.  He can be reached at www.chipbell.com.

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  1. I love the descriptive way you paint the new office setting for remote workers. The storytelling hits right on the mark for any work situation. Employees are no longer in a pen, but in the pasture they call home.
    Employees are balancing many plates as they serve various appetites. Leaders are doing the same balancing act! I hope they can come together and enjoy the desserts of success with all of your tips! Chip R. Bell is fantastic!

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