Some of the necessary qualities of effective management and leadership are timeless, and as applicable to the office environment as they are to a remote-first, async-first context. But async collaboration also demands specific new management and leadership qualities, and a recalibration of old ones.
A clear workflow is essential to successful async collaboration. But a manager in this setting must create other kinds of clarity with their team: clarity around short-term priorities and long-term objectives, clarity of overall vision, and clarity as to how each team member's work factors into the larger whole.
When clarity is in place, trust is possible. Granting team members flexibility and autonomy is a key part of async collaboration, allowing them to do their best work and feel ownership over their projects. Workers require the trust of managers, not micromanagement and excessive supervision.
"Transparency and trust mean less bullshit posturing and [role-playing at work], which means less overall anxiety and situation stress. This was true before the shift to a more flexible work environment, but it'll be even more true moving forward."
In the office, it was easy to appear to be working, but managers of remote teams are less interested in the mere appearance of work. Instead, with transparent work systems in place, the focus can and must be on real progress and results. The manager that properly recognizes team members' genuine accomplishments effectively incentivizes more meaningful productivity.
Outside of the context of the office, and working across timezones, managers must be intentional about building and nurturing personal relationships with reports, and staying mindful of team members' level of engagement and wellbeing. Strong interpersonal and socio-emotional skills are required, along with proactive communication.