Team Development

Leadership and Management Development

The remote team model is becoming increasingly popular, as it enables companies to tap into a larger talent pool and scale their operations more efficiently. By allowing employees to work from anywhere in the world, remote teams help businesses reduce costs while maintaining a high level of productivity. In fact, a recent Gen Z/Millennial global study conducted by Deloitte (23,220 respondents in total), from 46 countries) found that 75% of respondents prefer a remote or hybrid working environment.

However, and given the rising appetite, managing a remote team can be challenging, especially for first-time managers who are used to leading on-site employees. In this article, we’ll share some tips that remote team leaders can use to effectively manage their remote teams through the Insights Discovery colour lens.


of respondents prefer a hybrid or remote working environment.

Our team here at Unify has been supporting remote and hybrid teams for years and the following steps will hopefully put you on the right path to leading yours more effectively.

If you’re leading remote employees for the first time, be patient with yourself and approach every interaction with authenticity. It can take a while to adapt to remote work dynamics, especially if you’ve been on-site your whole career.

But don't get discouraged! You'll catch on in no time, especially if you follow these useful steps.

Step one - set the ground rules

It’s important to set ground rules for remote employees. These ground rules need to be set through discussion so both manager and team member agree on needs.

These ground rules should include expectations around communication (e.g., how often employees need to check in with their manager (and vice versa), as well as standards for productivity, preferred working hours, quality of work and roles and responsibilities – be clear, and don’t leave anything open to ambiguity. By setting clear expectations, remote team leaders can help reduce confusion and ensure that employees are held accountable.

Step two – be proactive when communicating

This means checking in with employees regularly (via video call, for example) on how they’re doing, not always focussing on tasks, objectives and goals but understanding how they’re feeling about the role, the work they’re doing and anything else that might contribute to their engagement – as you don’t have the luxury of the impromptu walk around the building for a chat, you need to slowly create an environment that reinforces openness and honesty.

When communicating project updates, deadlines or other information that might impact an employee’s work, it needs to be done fairly so there’s never an occasion that another colleague knows something that might impact someone’s work before they do. This can leave remote workers feeling devalued and wondering what else they haven’t been told. By communicating carefully, remote team leaders can help ensure that their employees are productive, happy, and all on the same page.

Step three - create a sense of community

Replicating a team environment that works for in-office teams with remote teams is set to fail, the elements that grease the wheels of team relationships just aren’t the same.

When managing a remote team, fostering a sense of community and belonging is essential. This can be done by hosting regular video calls or creating online forums where employees can share ideas and collaborate. Because of the distance, you need to work harder to build psychological safety and to get people talking. At the start of meetings run ice breaker activities like ‘bring something meaningful to the meeting’, or ‘what was your first paid job’ type of question. Approaching remote teams with a sense of community can help everyone’s mental health and wellbeing – or at least reinforce an environment where such things can be shared and discussed.

Make sure you allocate time for this. By building a strong sense of community, remote team leaders can help remote employees feel like they’re part of a larger team, even though they may be working from home. Creating connections will go a long way towards building a high-performing team.

Step four – get the tech

In order to effectively manage remote teams, it's important that all remote workers are equipped with the right tools and resources.

This includes laptops or desktop computers with high-speed internet access, as well as software such as Slack or Zoom that make remote communication easy. By providing employees with the right tools and resources, remote team leaders can help ensure that their teams are productive and efficient.

Be mindful that your remote workers will all have individual requirements and support needs to be tailored to meet the needs of each and every team member. Think hard and ask detailed questions about individual needs and whether the kit you’ve supplied enables them to perform to the best of their ability. Also consider their remote working environment – do the they have natural light, a decent chair, the right height desk to avoid back pains. This is all a remote manager’s responsibility and although you might not be able to immediately supply something different (or complete building works to install a window), you might be able to suggest a quick fix or temporary measure (or encourage a period outside in fresh air and natural light).

Step five – understand your audience

Understanding your remote workers’ behavioural preferences can make all the difference from communication to what motivates each style. Having a simple, easy to use model that increases engagement and brings awareness bridges the gap of misunderstanding between remote and hybrid workers.

Here at Unify we use the Insights Discovery colour model of behaviour (read more about Discovery here). This accessible and easy to use model gives teams and leaders a language to connect, understand and build self-awareness.

Along with a fascinating personal profile, Discovery brings behaviour to life through four colour energies. The premise being that although we have access to all four colours, we have a tendency to gravitate towards one as a preferred style.

Read on for a brief description of how best to lead each of the colour energies

When leading those who lead with Fiery Red Energy

General needs

  • Clarity on direction & priorities
  • Freedom to forge ahead
  • Resource / capability to achieve
  • To see that they’re making progress

Communication needs

  • Be clear, objective and to the point
  • Let them give plenty of input
  • Press them a little on planning, detail & people-related matters

Motivating them

  • Always give the practical / goal rationale behind tasks
  • Give them control over things they can make headway on or problems to solve
  • Keep things upbeat and positive
  • Reward effort and achievement, and give public praise for both

Watch out for signs of stress

  • Irritable, short-tempered
  • Impatient, wanting to get on with it
  • Increasing demands on self and others
  • Overly concerned with short-term goals

When leading those who lead with Sunshine Yellow Energy

General needs

  • Structure but also freedom to flex
  • To feel involved in what’s going on
  • Variety / non-work related activities
  • A sounding board to stay focused on priorities

Communication needs

  • Be upbeat and energetic
  • Check in frequently, but do not check up on
  • Summarise / highlight long emails with what matters most

Motivating them

  • Give them approval and appreciation in a public and humorous way
  • Provide a forum for social chat / humour
  • Reward with praise, responsibility and new opportunities

Watch out for signs of stress

  • Becoming cynical and argumentative
  • Unusually opinionated
  • Loses focus, accomplishes little
  • Stops contributing, disengages

When leading those who lead with Earth Green Energy

General needs

  • A calm, organised and predictable approach
  • Steady, regular work patterns
  • Advanced warning and consultation on changes or new initiatives

Communication needs

  • A dialogue with offers of help and support
  • Listen to their opinions and concerns and take them seriously
  • Keep the pace steady and only occasionally display urgency

Motivating them

  • Show a genuine interest in them – encourage them to speak and listen to what they have to say
  • Keep the human element of their impact visible to them and others
  • Reward privately and sincerely without fuss

Watch out for signs of stress

  • Can feel overwhelmed at first by sudden or large-scale change
  • Becomes silent and withdrawn
  • Can be judgemental and over-cautious
  • May become stubborn and resistant

When leading those who lead with Cool Blue Energy

General needs

  • Formal, well-defined structures
  • Well-established routines
  • Clarity and logical reasoning behind key tasks and objectives

Communication needs

  • Clear, logical and detailed
  • Time before and after for reflection and analysis
  • Space to ask questions and reflect
  • Professional, quite formal and no drama

Motivating them

  • Mental stimulation such as research and learning
  • Ensure minimal hurdles to making progress
  • Acknowledge their intellect and skills – seek their opinion
  • Reward quietly, formally, privately and with no fuss

Watch out for signs of stress

  • Overly-questioning and ‘nit-picking’
  • Worried, withdrawn, bogged down in seeking the ‘right’ answer / perfection
  • May become quietly resentful and hostile, undermining the official position

Insights Discovery does so much more than just help us understand the different needs of people in different working environments. Discovery is a tool that when used properly enables diversity, builds trust, accelerates performance and helps people become more confident in who they are and how they are and the impact they can have on others.

If you haven’t experienced Discovery, get in touch and we’ll talk you through how it improves virtual, remote, in-office and hybrid team performance.

Enquire now
James Hampton (He/Him)

James Hampton (He/Him)



Our areas of specialism.


  • Self-awareness

  • Resilience

  • Personal Development

  • Change

  • Decision making

  • Growth mindset

Team development.

  • Hybrid team working

  • Communication

  • Meetings

  • Feedback

  • Collaboration

  • Trust

Leadership development.

  • Leadership styles

  • Psychological safety

  • Leading change

  • Mission, vision, values

  • Culture

  • Mentoring