Editor’s note: David Deacon is a human resources professional and the author of The Self-Determined Manager: A Manifesto for Exceptional People Managers. 

Managing remotely has quickly become the norm in today’s work world. And it isn’t easy. With more employees working remotely or on flex schedules, it can be tough to create the kind of connection you need to help people do their best work. You can’t pick up on nonverbal cues. You can’t tell if they’re having a good or bad day. You can’t have those quick, informal interactions needed to form comfortable, cooperative relationships.

This is why you must be intentional about projecting to your remote workers the kind of environment and team culture you want.

You must ask more, listen better, clarify more, explore challenges together and engage on personal stuff in addition to work stuff. The best managers are able to do these things in a way that builds loyalty as well as connections that endure the ups and downs of corporate life.

The best managers seek to intentionally shape work environments. Managers who excel at creating the best environments, where people thrive and great work gets done, are self-determined managers. This is challenging and relentless work even when everyone works in close quarters. So, when distance is a factor, a great manager must push even harder to build a positive culture and get the most out of their team. 

Here are eight things the best managers do to successfully lead remote teams:

They keep in touch. Great managers connect with their people by e-mail, Skype or phone conversations. This isn’t an occasional event either; it’s a regular and predictable conversation that they look forward to. 

They focus on more than tasks. The best managers know they need to show that they worry about everyone’s successes and challenges. It’s not only about the project or job at hand. 

They discuss personal a...