Leading Remote Teams for High Engagement

by Elizabeth Yang | May 22, 2020 | Leadership, Leadership, Teams, Webinars

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About This Webinar

As the founder/business owner, you may be feeling the pressure, exhaustion, and fear as the downturn poses a threat to health, office safety, and a radical shift in day to day focuses. Issues of hiring in a great market are moving toward hiring freezes, virtual approaches to face-to- face interactions, and managing a team in crisis.

Your leadership is more critical than ever:

• Rapid or sudden shift from growing to retaining or redesigning

• Managing “right” sizing and/or re-allocating of resources

• Managing health and safety of people that work for you

Your teams and customers need you to SHOW UP with compassionate leadership.

Elizabeth Yang walks you through the 5 mental and emotional stages you and your team may be going through right now and how to use your personal and company values to get through those stages. She’ll also share with you ways to engage your virtual teams.

Key Takeaways

• The 5 Mental & Emotional Stages to Watch For Now

• How to Overcome the Stages with Your Company Values Guiding the Way

• Tips for Leading Remote Team for High Engagement

You’ll Get:

• How-To Worksheet: Get Clear on Your Values and Ways to Engage Your Virtual Team


[The following is the full transcript of this episode of The Leading Remote Teams for High Engagement.]

Hi there! This is Elizabeth Yang. Thank you so much for joining the masterclass leading remote teams for high engagement. Why don’t we just go ahead and take a moment while we are waiting for people to dial in to go ahead and introduce yourself. In the chat there, you’ll see there are sections for chat where you can type in anything you like a Q&A. This is where I want you to be able to specifically asked questions, go ahead and type that into the Q&A right there. So that we can go ahead and flag those questions and make sure that we answer it. Sometimes when the questions get into the chat. It gets a little messy, so we lose them. So go ahead and introduce yourself right there in the chat.

I see Minnesota in the house,


A couple of folks here from Boston, so you know about here in Boston as well.

Amazing. Well, thank you for joining us.

We have a jam packed full hour. So I am just going to dive right in and get this started. Now, I don’t know about you, but I have been to many, many different types of map webinars and master classes. And I want us to start with helping to anchor us on what this masterclass is all about.

This is not just a Webinar. This is really about your time, your moment here with us. This is really about a totally different experience. Totally different commitment

This is really about a totally different experience. Totally different commitment. And I just want to take this moment to just pause for a second and check in with you. Now, I know that for some of you that showed up today to join me for this webinar, this is a critical moment for you. It’s a baby step. We’re in the midst of a crisis with the Corona virus, and right now…

“Many of us are leaders running businesses and managing people. We’re uncertain about what’s going to happen next. Take baby steps towards your commitment to a longer journey.

We’re going to get this through this together. This is going to be a pivotal moment for you. This is going to be a moment where you’re just quite frankly.

And so today is going to be a defining moment for you. How are you going to show up? You know, you have an opportunity to really be anywhere. You could be watching Netflix right now, eating ice cream. But today, you are here with me and I am really grateful for that. I just really appreciate you showing up.

“Many of us are leaders running businesses and managing people. We’re uncertain about what’s going to happen next. Take baby steps towards your commitment to a longer journey.

We’re going to get this through this together. This is going to be a pivotal moment for you. This is going to be a moment where you’re just quite frankly.

And so today is going to be a defining moment for you. How are you going to show up? You know, you have an opportunity to really be anywhere. You could be watching Netflix right now, eating ice cream. But today, you are here with me and I am really grateful for that. I just really appreciate you showing up.

“Make a commitment towards your journey in mastery in becoming a better leader to grow the people around you and to grow your business. That takes grit. That takes courage. And that takes guts, quite frankly.”

What does it take to run your team remotely? And what I am committed to during this time together, is to get you to Business Breakthrough. You came committed to your commitment towards mastery that is a journey. Whether it’s with me or with someone else, it shows that you are showing up for yourself. And that’s huge. So in this time, you and I are going to focus on; What does it take to lead remote teams with high engagement?

“In order to get to the other side, you got to lead yourself, lead people, and then ultimately be able to lead your customers.”

You’ll get these worksheets emailed to you. They’re going to build upon the work that we have here. They were in designed intentionally to help you create the Business Breakthrough that you need to step up your leadership and step up how you’re leading your teams so that you can truly get high engagement and really get through these times. Does that sound like a plan? All righ. So just a little bit about me. You know, I start with sharing my story because

“I, at one time, have been where you are at. It’s important for me to share that story because every lesson that I’ve learned as part of my journey, I feel as a lesson meant to be taught.”

I am Elizabeth, the founder of Better With Company and The Elevation Path, which is my signature solution for how I work with clients and students to really put people first in building and growing a business that is profitable. When I started on this journey, not too long ago, the biggest challenge that I faced was really how do I find work life balance with my career at the time, and family and kids and trying to get that all figured out? There were two critical moments that really happened to me. I want to share this with you because even in this masterclass, you’re thinking about how you can lead remote teams for high engagement.

Taking a step back to really think about what defines you and what you stand for, and what drives you your why is going to be so critical to consistently building trust with your team. There were two critical moments that happen for me. And the first one was really around how I started my journey. As an entrepreneur, I was an accidental entrepreneur. There were there was a co-founder CEO, she reached out on LinkedIn, and she was struggling. And she wanted to be able to connect to really share her story

And then she said to me, Elizabeth, how much do you charge?

And that was really the moment when I realized, wow, I should probably become a business. And that was a big turning point for me, after working with me for six months, heard her co founder pivoted, and they landed their first corporate client. And this is when I got the biggest aha ever. I realized in that moment the impact that I could make in a very speedy manner and that just shifted over. Thing for me. I was hooked, right? So I started my business on the side as a consultant while holding on to my career. And at the time I was in product innovation marketing at a large healthcare IT company.

“I enjoyed my career, leading teams from around the world, looking at best practices around emerging technology. Yet I felt unfilled. Life is too short to just work for a paycheck.”

How do we fill close the gap between multi generational workforce’s? So I was about a year and a half in to that. And then a second moment happened. It was right around the time where my company was reorganizing and re-stacking the company. And I’ve been with the company for at the time, eight years. And I always landed somewhere whether it was with a different team, or it was on in a different role. If somebody how I managed to land somewhere. So, this time, it was nothing different.

But what happened was, as I was looking for another role, my vice president at the time knew that I was looking to join another team. And so we had been working with HR to try to figure out how to process the people work great. And I remember my eight year anniversary, I happened to be in vacation out with my family. It was a beautiful, gorgeous, Thursday. And he texted me, and he said Elizabeth, let’s chat.

So I was out with my family. And so I needed some privacy. So I went to the car to call him back. And in that moment of talking to him, he said, Elizabeth, I’m sorry, but I’m gonna have to let you go. And I just remember saying to him, you know that I’m going to be joining this other team, Why? What happened to that role is no longer available? And he said to me, I don’t know, you’re gonna have to figure that out. And I just remember thinking, Wait a minute, isn’t this the same company that I’m working for?

And said, what do you mean, I have to figure it out? And you’re laying me off. So how’s that? How does it even work? And I just remember in that moment, feeling like a complete failure, just completely devastated. I really felt in that moment, completely stripped of my dignity. I mean, I was so ashamed. I sat in the car after I hung up with them, and I literally started crying.

I thought, How can I face my family? How can I face them right? And I just cried. I cried in the car. And then I said, Elizabeth, get your group together. And call this VP team that you’re supposed to be joining and figure out what’s going on. So I called her. And I said, I told her what happened. And she’s like, this doesn’t make any sense.

Elizabeth, don’t worry about it. I’m going to figure this all out.

And she later came back to me. And she said to me, Elizabeth, in the last 20 years, I’ve been with this company, this has never happened to me. I have no idea why your current boss is laying you off knowing that you’re supposed to be joining our team. It doesn’t make any sense. And I remember when I was talking to him, and they said, Look, you know, I’m gonna be back in the office on Monday.

Could we just talk about it on Monday. And he said to me, Oh, no, actually on Monday, I’m gonna be on vacation. So I’m sitting there thinking, let me get this straight. You are calling me during my vacation time to lay me off, knowing that I might be getting another job. So that you can go on vacation and peace. That’s how it works. And you know, that was really a big breaking point for me, because in that split moment, I spent at the time two years working for this guy.

Traveling nights and weekend sacrificed, right? And in a moment, when they say that it takes years to build trust with the company, and minutes to lose trust. And just that one conversation, all of that eight years I spent with the company, God. And later on I come to find that it was all about internal politics. He originally didn’t want me to join that team because our capabilities would be too similar what, what I was doing on his team and what this new VP was trying to cut up.

But this was such a big breaking point for me because I felt my power taken away. And I said, Never again. So long story short, I ended up working for the new team came back on Monday went working for this new team, completely grateful that my new leader. She said Elizabeth, I don’t know what you’re going to be doing on my team. But we’ll figure it out. I didn’t even have a job description. But she had said to me, Elizabeth, I have heard great things about you.

So I’m just going to just figure it out when you come on board. And that’s really all it took. All it took for me to have this new role on this new opportunity. After working with her, I eventually built my business up to a point where I was confident I did enough referrals coming in where I could really take that big leap of faith to really go out on my own. I just never thought I would be an entrepreneur, I really thought I would have a corporate career and we just move up the ladder.

But I took that leap, leap of faith. And what you see here are my kids, Evan and Evelyn, eleven and nine here, and they were my reason, I decided to take that big leap of faith. And so I took the exit, I put on my shoes, and I was just like, you know what, I’m going to do this. I’m going to do this. And that’s how I got started. And the biggest lesson I learned that I hope that you’re going to be able to walk away with as we talk about leading remote teams, is how the right people really will lead to faster results for you. You know, that opportunity for me to join that new team. That wasn’t another cup.

That wasn’t the company that have found that opportunity for me. It was my own personal network, my own doing work for. I didn’t know at the time my boss my soon to be boss her team on the side line that got me recognized by her team to say, hey, let’s help Elizabeth because she’s an amazing worker. That’s really what started. So I realized the power of your network and finding the right people get to the faster results. That was a big shift for me. And that’s a shift that I hope that you’re going to be able, as we’ve talked about the class today be able to get you know, and it’s really scary.

When you step on your own, just know that there’s gonna be a lot of people looking and watching you. And I know for me when I started from startup, it was like, Oh my gosh, what am I doing? Right? But once I got my first 10 K, once I got my first bundle of clients, I really started to see momentum build up in my business.

“I attribute success to understanding how to lead myself and how to lead other people. That’s when I started to need to see the needle move.”

that’s what I want to be able to share with you today. So that’s how I got started.

“I share, not to brag, but to share that I’ve been where you are. And that if I can do it, you can too. I took the baby steps.”

until I finally got to that pivotal moment where I was sick and tired of being sick and tired. Those two big defining moments, all led up to where I am today. Standing in front of you, teaching this masterclass, completely blessed and appreciative of you being here showing up for me. And I’m committed to showing up for you. So let’s just take a moment here. And let me just ask you, what is the biggest challenge that you’re facing right now? type that into the Q&A section. Just give me a moment there to type that in. What biggest challenges are you facing right now?

Managing teams that are now remote. Sounds like maybe you had teams that were on site or in person and now everything’s remote. Yeah. 100% I think 99% of all the workforce is pretty much remote now unless your essential worker. Yeah. So that’s what we’re going to be covering today is really how to do that. And I’m going to share with you three simple strategy steps on how to do that. A lot of the experience that I’ve gotten has been from really, you know, not only understanding how big large fortune 500 companies operate, but also working with my students and clients to take what I’ve learned and personalize a moment. That into their business so that it’s relevant and personalized to the work that they do. That is what I’m super committed to.

You’re going to find that today in the masterclass what I’m going to be sharing with you is really centered on aim achieved and attract the the heart of getting the right people first, then profits follow with your business. That’s truly what finds the wow difference. Now, there’s a lot of different steps that when you’re thinking about your business and growing it so that it’s really driven by the voice of the customer, and the heart of the customer is really about having that be the DNA of your business.

We’re just touching on a small step of a complete solution, road-map blueprint to really creating a business that stands out based on the voice of the customer. So today’s masterclass is anchored on how do you optimize talent, more specifically, remote engagements so that you’re able to lead the people, your people, not just teams directs, but the people that look up to you that follow you contractors to employees to really get them all moving in the same direction towards a common goal. That’s what we’re going to be focused on today. So just take a moment here to look at this. Okay. I want you to take a moment to look at this.

Okay, some of you saw a monkey. All right. Well,

a clock, a wedding

I see the monkey

A wedding groom and bride. Okay,

So, I share this to say that you and I, we all saw the same picture, did we not? But how is it possible that some of you saw the monkey others saw the bride and groom’s the wedding and others saw the clock, when we are looking at the same thing.

“When it comes to customers, the ‘truth’ is in the eye of the beholder. It doesn’t matter what you or I think.”

“You and I can look at the same exact picture at the same exact moment, but both recall different things that we saw. Truth is perception.”

“You and I could have both saw the same thing. It doesn’t mean that one person is right and the other person is wrong. Just means we have different interpretations. That’s the key here.”

“The first step in getting clear about what it takes to lead your team during crisis and get high engagement for is to check in – move beyond ‘how are you doing?'”

I want to share with you the five mental and emotional stages. Whatever works for you where you’re potentially at with this. As you know, we’re in the mist I think for many of us are probably about almost two months into the lock-down depending on where you are in the world. And there’s five different types of mental and emotional stages that many of us go through. I’m just going to add a high level walk through this, but I want you just to do a check in to see one where you’re at. And then afterwards to just take a moment to think about where your team and different people might be at with wherever their journey is. Okay? So stage one of a mental and emotional stage, oftentimes when a certainty like this sense, is we’re in denial.

Like we can’t even believe that this is happening.

“During this time of crisis, some want to continue to pretend like life is normal, because we just don’t want to believe that there’s all this massive change.”

And you probably felt this probably the first week of when the lockdown quarantine happened. And it was like we’re just gonna write it out and see how it goes right.

A second stage.

Believe in panic. This is where you start to realize that wow, massive change is coming and it’s here. A panic almost starts to settle in. What’s the change going to look like? How do I prepare? I mean, this is when the toilet paper started flying off the shelves. And like everywhere you went, you couldn’t find toilet paper, we still can’t buy toilet paper. Because there was all of a sudden there’s panic, panic just everywhere. Because you look around and they’re panic, and if they’re panic, you start to get panicked yourself.

But now you are silently anxious instead, you can’t really sleep we have thoughts that kind of goes rolling in and out of your head. And you know, we go into bed stressing wake up feeling a little drained, you just aren’t sleeping well. So there’s this the silent anxiousness is happening. stage four is where you start to accept and let go.

“One way to address the crisis is when you realize that the change is going to be here to stay. And you start to be more intentional about the negative news and you start filtering out negative news and maybe perhaps even negative people.”

Five as a dad, this is when you start to realize there’s almost like a grieving that happens. There’s sadness, there’s loss, and you’re starting to restructure things. I know for me personally, I’ve had to restructure what it’s like to have the kids home, all online. With school. My kids are grades six and forth, and they are now 100% virtual online learning. Everyone now has to have their own desk, their own headset, their own computer, and we have to manage each other’s schedules. So that no one’s talking over other people. That’s when things start to get restructured, routines change, things start to change patterns and habits start to change.

“Change is scary. But this is when you start to anticipate the positive outcomes that can come from it.”

as you begin to feel better about that, because you can anticipate the positive outcomes, you can start to prepare. And I think

“During crisis, the key is that when you start to prepare, you start to feel better.”

Because you start to feel in control. So when you think about where we’re at right now, with the epidemic of the corona virus, wherever you are, recognize like that photo that we just saw that you could be on any of these stages, but so could anyone else on your team does that make sense? So just take a moment to acknowledge where you’re at.

And this is something that I would encourage you to talk about with your team. Why does this matter? Because, again, with this, this image, it’s about honoring other people with where they’re at in their journey. Everyone’s looking at the sink picture. Everyone’s pretty much quarantine at home with their families and kids if they have kids or their pets, everyone is facing Corona virus together.

“Depending on where you’re sitting, depending on who you are, your personality, your experience, you might just see certain things through your Lens of Truth.”

You might only see that monkey, you might only see the wedding couple, you might only see the clock so take a moment to check in with where people are at what their emotions and their stages. It’s not just “Oh, how are you doing? “Oh, I’m good, but really saying where are you at in the mental and emotional stage? Are you still feeling a little anxious? Or are you fully like, focused on the positive outcomes and you’re trying to adapt, like get to that level of depth. So you start to see where you are, personally.

First you validate yourself, and then see where your team is that you follow me. So that’s why it matters because you begin to check in and honor their journey. Step two, get clear what are your key three company values?

I’m going to share mine as an example of why this is so critical for you to get clear with what your values are. Right now. So here are Better With Company.

“Our top five company values are compassion, wonder, leadership, community and performance.”

Now I picked these three, for today’s masterclass as examples. Because this is going to be where if you don’t already have business values or company values are really taking a moment to step back and understand the values that your company, the products and services that you create, or the values that you want your employees and team or contractors to embody. This is a really good time to define what that is. Why? Because the look and feel of each of these values could be very different. And you know, when you think about that picture that I showed you before, we’re, you know, we’re all looking at that same photo, it’s the same truth, reality, but

“We all walk away with differences. Each of these could mean different things to different people. And as a leader, as the founder, the owner, running your business, it’s up to you to be able to give color to what each of these definitions are.”

And in a bit here, I’m going to walk you through how we do that. But think of these as different lens, different colored lens that we’re each going to be walking through, as an example. So I’ll just use something really simple here. If I was in a conversation with a client who was upset with me, because he felt that I didn’t deliver up to his expectations.

And I disagree. I felt that you know, maybe I or my people, my team did deliver what we had promised. And it was him and his team that did it live up to the their part which is, you know, maybe providing the impact. Let’s say, finish up the website. So you guys didn’t review the copy and approve the graphics on time so that the team can develop the website on time. So therefore we relate. That could be an example, in a situation of an upset customer.

How might my values show up?

So for example, compassion, how could I have empathy for what him or his team was going through? So instead of just holding on to my position and buckling down, how can I see what’s happening through that lens for him? So that’s the first place to start. Then I might say, what is the word wonder mean to you? for me, it’s about curiosity, and almost this childlike delight and embrace in that, you know, in a serious situation like an upset customer.

How might I look at that lens through a sense of wonder. So that might look like in the conversation with him me asking a lot of questions. Well, I understand that you’re really upset right now. But where do you think we dropped the ball? Where do you think maybe your team could have helped deliver X, Y&Z on time? So wonder allows me to be curious and asking questions. And that’s an example of me living up to the value of wonder, right?

That’s really the key. Because here as you know, with our masterclasses, we focus on high performance, so delivering results in a timely accelerated manner. Did we do that? Did I take an honest look at what my team did for the website? And did we feel like we could have done something differently? Maybe we could have followed up. Maybe we delivered just the project planning beginning and we never sent an email to follow up.

We didn’t call or we didn’t do two or three follow ups with him and his team before proactively before we decided to delay the project. So, these lens, these values allow us to look at the lens of how we can look at the situation, you follow me. So that’s just an example of what we’re going to be doing and how we’re going to be applying this. Okay, so why does it matter? When you take your company business values, and you began to look at your business challenges, your pain points.

“The way that your team operates, the way that you develop your products and services through the lens of your company values, it’s the consistency over time is what builds trust with your people, including your team.”

Okay, for example, I value compassion which means listening and trying to understand things from their perspective first, even if I feel completely justified in my position. And by doing that,

“When I use our company values to guide, I can be assured that I’m consistently showing up as compassionate, showing up as wonder, wondrous curious.”

But also knowing that my quality standards are all about performance, that it’s not just about feeling great and soft stuff like compassion and asking lots of questions, but that we actually get things done when we deliver. So I can be reassured that it’s consistent. And the consistency of how you show up is what builds trust, especially with your team. Okay. So take a deep breath there, and stay calm. Stay calm. Let’s talk about after we start to look at company values. What are some things that we can begin to do as we think about our company values? I want to introduce you to God.

“VUCA is a leadership framework that is really powerful. That allows you to really understand where you’re at with your team, and the uncertainty with what’s happening right now.”.

I’m going to just break this up for you for some context. And then I’m going to go ahead and ask you to diagnose where you’re at with this and and help you understand how you can use this in your own tool. Because today’s masterclass is really focused on how to lead remote teams, for higher engagement. But in order for you to lead them, you got to know where you are. You got to be able to define your point A, so that you know where point B is next, so that you could lead your team and you can build consistent trust over time to get them to point C. So this is what you and I are trying to accomplish in this masterclass today.

“VUCA stands for Volatile, Uncertain, Complex and Ambiguous. Volatile is uncertainty, ups and downs that fluctuate.”

The environment is constantly fluctuating and when it demands from you is a quick reaction to those ongoing changes. It’s unpredictable and most of the time it’s out of your control. Uncertain. It’s just you don’t know. Right? But it demands some sort of action from you. Complex. There’s a lots of information floating around but it’s really hard to do. Certain because they’re all interconnected. And so the environment is dynamic because there’s so many different inter dependencies. So for example, with all the different states right now, what they’re different restrictions being lifted and not lifted, depending on where your team is located that may impact you differently.

Some states, like in the south, they’re lifting their band sooner than other states like New York or California. So depending on where your teams are located, this is going to impact them, and you and the overall team differently. But so how do you manage that it’s complex. Ambiguous is an environment where it’s just unfamiliar, there’s a lot of multiple meanings, like you guys are both all get the same picture. But again, everyone can interpret that in different things. And sometimes it can feel a little like outside of your expertise, it can feel a little uncomfortable for you. So, where are you at? And this is a framework that I want to help orient you on what you do know. Versus how well you can perhaps feel like you could predict the outcome. Okay?

“Define your point A so you know where point B is going to be.”

We’re going to walk through this together. I know at this point, you might be thinking to yourself, oh, this is a lot of information. But when has there ever been a time when you are on the brink of mastery in your journey, that it hasn’t been hard? Right?

When has there ever been a time when right now, things have been like uncertain right. So stay with me, if you’re multitasking, come back, see with me. And just take a moment to take a breather and just work through this with me. I’m trying to get you to start to focus in and take the uncertainty of something really big like Corona virus and start to kind of tunnel vision and a little bit so that you get focus and organization. So you can get clear on defining your point A and your point B. So you can move the needle on a to be a move your team from A to B, so that everyone’s headed in the right direction because at some point.

“My friends the gates will open up again, and those that hung on, that showed up with compassionate leadership, that showed up for their people, are going to be the ones that are going to make it through.”

Okay, so stay with me, Great. So where are you at with this?

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