Every considerable change needs an early adopter. It is not different with remote and asynchronous work. While I believe that organizational change doesn't have to be top-down (from leader to employee), it is a strong signal when leaders are making the first move.
Learn how to work remote and asynchronous is not an easy task. It's important that the whole leadership team experience the challenges first hand. This ensures that everyone understands what remote really means.
All too often, leaders think they know how something has to be done. Or they want to establish something because it is what “everyone is doing”. While this is bad when introducing some minor changes (for instance a new 1:1 format) it's a guaranteed failure for major changes like the transition to remote.
How are employees supposed to accept such significant changes when the leadership is giving a bad example?
Middle management faces a special challenge here. They need to rethink their job from the ground up. Instead of information router, they act as community manager now. Onboard people to the new way of collaboration. Introduce new digital tools and help everyone get used to them. Encourage everyone to participate in an open and inclusive collaboration. Middle management (for instance team leads) are still important, but in a new way.
Of course, most of the concepts (leadership by example) are not new. They are around for some time. Remember the basics for good leadership, and your remote journey will be fun and fulfilling. For a stronger team and a resilient company.