Leadership in COVID-19 blog
Leanne Campbell

Leanne Campbell

How to be a great leader for your team while working remotely

When working remotely it can feel challenging to lead your team well. However the sooner you can let go of past structures, adapt to the 'new normal' and inspire your team to do the same, the better off you'll be says leadership development expect, Nick Mackeson-Smith.

Leadership expert, Nick Mackeson-Smith, says the best leaders right are embracing this new reality, rapidly discarding their old beliefs and empowering their teams to adapt. Plus you’ll be pleased to know that team meetings in buildings around a big table with mandatory attendance are so 2019. 

I’ve been working with leaders for almost two decades now, and throughout this time I’ve found that the very best leaders share a common set of behaviours and mindsets. These leaders create engagement, excitement, clarity, purpose, and drive exceptional performance. 

Many leaders I have spoken to throughout this crisis have felt paralysed by the magnitude of the change we’re all collectively facing, yet others have demonstrated how they can set themselves up to thrive and in turn help others to succeed. 

Why did these leaders have such different responses? What’s the secret sauce? 

It’s actually no secret…we’ve known this stuff for decades. 

What we are seeing now though is these leaders are becoming more visible and more valued as they seem to be more able to move through this change with confidence. 

The not so secret sauce of great leaders

  • They genuinely care about others – a little bit of selflessness goes a long way
  • They’re clear about the outcomes required and not the methods to get there
  • They seek to empower and can let go of control
  • They understand what drives people – so stop making yourself the driver
  • They give trust unearned – don’t make your people jump through hoops
  • They’re radically transparent with their people – they don’t hide things away
  • They strive for polish – not unrealistic expectations of perfection
  • They celebrate learning moments and don’t frame things as failures or losses
  • They give time to those who need it 
  • They have an unending openness to change – inflexible rigidity doesn’t work for many!
  • They test and learn again and again and again….. 
  • They are willing to quickly discard beliefs and approaches that no longer work – not holding on in the hope that “it’ll go back to what it was like before” 
  • They explore technology as a tool to be used to help them have better conversations and make it easier to get things done

"The successful leader embraces this reality - rapidly discards their old beliefs and structures that no longer serve anybody, and they empower their teams to adapt. They keep what serves and they discard what doesn’t. It’s rapid, it’s transformational, and it can be exciting."

Nick Mackeson-Smith, px.works

Here’s the thing. Even things like team meetings in buildings around a big table with mandatory attendance are so 2019. They’re done. 

The successful leader embraces this reality, rapidly discards their old beliefs and structures that no longer serve anybody, and they empower their teams to adapt. They do this by trusting their team to test new approaches and they allow people to test new tools and frameworks and technologies. They keep what serves and they discard what doesn’t. It’s rapid, it’s transformational, and it can be exciting. 

Where there are opportunities to improve they encourage their teams to run at the challenge. Where things work well they leave them where they are – for now. They care about how people feel through this change and proactively look for ways to help others to be successful. They share their own fears and uncertainties and vulnerabilities with others to level the playing field. They look for data points to understand where things are better, and where things can still improve. 

For you as a human (yes as a human, not a leader)

  • Be kind to yourself. We’re all trying the best we can to get through this. 
  • Cut yourself some slack. The same levels of performance and output absolutely cannot be expected when circumstances and the environment around you is so different.
  • Have somebody to talk to about how you feel. A mate, a colleague, a family member, a helpline, a neighbour, a medical professional. All of the above. In times like this, anxiety and stress can be huge and none of us should feel alone. 
  • Let it go. Just focus on what you can control (and that’s pretty limited to your choices, your behaviours, and the way you let yourself react to things). Everything else is pretty much out of your control! 
  • Find (and use) pressure release valves. Mine are going to a great yoga class, meditating or playing the drums – definitely not at the same time. Whatever works for you. 
  • Sleep. For real. Big deep sleep. Get warm and snuggly and actually allow your mind and body some time to rest and heal.


Nick is the Co-Founder of px.works – a business on a mission to get people back to work as quickly and as safely as possible in environments that reflect the new normal. They are fans of People Experience or “PX”, as they believe the best work environments are ones that have been intentionally designed to give people great experiences.

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