It is highly unlikely that if you pick a random number of people around the world and make them a team, they will perform effectively. Each person has unique skills and abilities, which should be met to ensure that the person is contributing in a meaningful way. In order for the team to grow, they need to be effective in their collaborative actions.
Looks like managing a remote team resembles on-site management quite a bit, huh?
It does, but you should also remember that there are some specific management techniques that are used to manage remote employees. Let’s learn these techniques to ensure that your remote team performs well.
1. Ensure the Team Has a Clear Understanding of Goals and Objectives
In a white paper on remote working by online meeting software producer Mikogo views a clear understanding of goals and objectives as a critical condition for the team. According to the paper, the leader of the team should address each member after sharing what is expected from them, as this will be the chance to ask questions and raise concerns.
Clearly, being on the same page is important for remote teams because of the lack of meetings face-to-face. Any confusion or issue that arises should be discussed fully to reduce the risk of misunderstanding, conflict, and underperformance.
2. Use Different Communication Methods
It is very easy to have a misunderstanding or miscommunication if the person you are speaking with is far away. To ensure that everything is communicated, even when you forgot to mention it during the online meeting, different communication methods should be used.
According to Groove, there are at least 19 great communication tools that can be used for remote teams, such as Skype, Screenhero, Slack, Join.me, and Trello. They provide an excellent opportunity to screen sharing for teams, customers, and one-on-one voice calls. Do not hesitate to use email, phone, and chat as well.
3. Promote Bonding Among Team Members
Members of remote teams are deprived of the opportunity to communicate as they would if they worked in an office.
For example, they cannot have those water-cooler moments when they have spontaneous conversations while taking a sip on a break. These moments, although perceived as a waste of time by some employers, can be great for bonding and strengthening the team, as well as taking a break.
To promote bonding via distance, having off-topic chit-chat during online meetings, online games, and other team-building activities can be used.
4. Make Sure No One Feels Isolated
When working remotely, it is very easy to start feeling isolated if the manager or other team members do not connect with you regularly or show appreciation for your contribution. According to Screenhero blog, even though the employees are connected with others, they might feel isolated because they cannot collaborate in a way that is familiar to them.
Many companies have had these difficulties. I have learned about Proessaywriting where management uses both video calls and apps like Talent Cove and HipChat to connect with freelance writers and avoid isolation. It is simple to eliminate this problem: give employees individualized tasks and show appreciation.
For example, instead of saying, “you need to fix that problem with the zoom button on the site,” try saying, “The zoom button does not work correctly. We need you to do some magic and fix it for us.” Even simple things like changing the way you speak can help.
5. Be Honest
When the boss fails to be transparent with the team, they will inevitably realize that something is wrong. Just imagine the frustration when someone realizes that their manager is not being completely honest with them about the things that impact their professional lives.
As described in this article from Careerlink, honesty with the team means three things: confidence in the employees, respect, and a better chance to avoid a crisis.
Honesty is an essential requirement for proper team building and management, even under remote conditions.
Managing a remote team requires a lot of effort but using the techniques described in this article can make it easier.
Hopefully, they will be useful for you by giving you insights into how one manages effectively. Go ahead and experiment to find out which ones work for you!
How Can You Manage a Virtual Team?
If you have ideas that you feel like sharing that might be helpful to readers, share them in the comments section below. Thanks!
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Thanks for this article, Michael!
I agree with all of these techniques. Yet, I more see them as add-ons to a team-building tool based on metaprograms such as the LAB Profile.
With such a tool, you can predict the behavior and job performance of each member of the team. You can also optimize your team building process, minimize potential clashes, and smooth out conflicts if they occur.
The new LAB Profile 2.0 currently represents the state-of-the-art in this field.