Virtual Teams

When you’re leading virtual teams, you don’t have the luxury of the ability to reach people with body language and sharing space with the individuals you’re working with as you would in person.

If you’re responsible for organizing communication between individuals through virtual mediums, things become more difficult. You’ll need to change up your habits if you want to see the same impressive results with a virtual team as you would with one in person.

1. Create Solid Plans

Everyone has ground rules, and they’re simpler when everyone is in the same room. In this scenario for virtual teams, you’ll have to go the extra mile to make sure everyone is on the same page. Having a clear communication plan will help bridge the gap.

Always outline who needs to be communicating with whom, about what, and how often that communication needs to occur. Prepare a pecking order with project specifics to control the flow of information, allowing it to pass through the proper channels while preventing important bits from being overlooked.

2. Don’t Rush Things

In virtual teams, there are no unspoken rules or assumptions to be made. If you’re trying to work through a project too quickly, it’s not going to be completed properly. Does everyone on your team possess the same resources, software, contacts, and tools to get the job done?

If some of them are working remotely, the variables can affect the speed at which the work is done. Holding an impossible time standard will cause things to unwind before they’ve ever had a fair start. Go a little slower. Focus on quality, and pay attention to detail.

3. Promote Cohesive Technology

How do you want your interactions to take place? You’ll need to select options that everyone will have equal access to. The ideal platforms will allow for real time video and audio communication.

You may not be able to rely on those platforms on a constant basis, so you’ll need to supplement them with something more convenient like text conversations that can be archived, and virtual documents that multiple individuals can work on simultaneously are necessary for the continued success of your project.

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4. Keep Yourself Engaged

You’re responsible for your outcome. Neglecting communication can stall progress significantly, and micromanaging everyone can irritate them. You need to find the right level of involvement. Your job is to keep everyone motivated, answer everyone’s questions, compile information, and strategize.

You need to be the glue that binds the project together. Make yourself available and check in regularly. Slipping into the shadows and being overbearing are equally as counterproductive.

5. Hold As Many Productive Meetings as Possible

Poor and ineffective meetings can have devastating results such as  the decrease in employees’ motivation as well as loss in productivity. In a virtual meeting, you’re trying to accomplish the same things you’d accomplish in a face-to-face scenario.

As a refresher, here are the cardinal rules for running a productive meeting.

  1. Don’t ramble. Keep everything straight and to the point.
  2. Be a good listener, and address everyone on a personal level.
  3. If you need to convey lengthy information, send out a document before the meeting takes place. It saves you time, and allows people to familiarize themselves with the information beforehand.
  4. Speak clearly. If you throw too much jargon around, or treat everything like an inside joke, people will walk away confused about what their missions are and what their role is.
  5. Ask as many questions as you answer. Asking questions will allow you to gauge the comprehension of the people involved in the meeting.

No matter how you approach the situation, one goal is exceedingly clear: you need to make your virtual environment as much like a real environment as possible.

Your employees will take things as seriously as you take them, and you need to create that excellent environment by setting the tone properly.

How Do You Lead Virtual Teams?

If you have ideas you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!

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Clare Hawkins
With her background in marketing and web design, Clare Hawkins is interested in learning about new and efficient ways of growing and promoting new businesses. She currently shares her knowledge and expertise at Local.
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