Virtual teams are not only on the rise… they are here. Using equipment, phones, and Wi-Fi, most people can do their jobs from anywhere. Organizations can reduce office space and all associated costs, as well as, attract and expand their talent pool. Employees can manage their personal and work lives, have more flexibility, and interact with people around the world.

If they are well-managed, virtual teams can outperform teams in a shared space. But virtual teams are difficult to get right. So, how do you create and lead an effective virtual team?

Four critical elements:

  1. The Right Team
    • Ensure they understand team basics such as size, roles, team stages, and needed tools
  2. Leadership (everything done in person has to be magnified virtually)
    • Foster trust by focusing on being transparent
    • Check periodically to ensure the people on your team are ok
    • Develop open, honest communication… it is crucial
    • Clarify goals and expectations
    • Establish a common vision
    • Structure work based on team members’ individual needs and driving forces.
  3. Establish time together
    • Make time to bring the team together; live or use face-to-face technology
    • Use eye contact, body language, and tone to increase communication
    • Develop team dynamics, bridge gaps, and use behavioral styles
    • Onboarding – this is important for every team member and should involve the entire team
    • Celebrate milestones together
  4. Technology
    • Everyone should have access to the right technology
    • Use options; access codes make it harder when someone is driving
    • Stay away from recording; be concerned with people talking versus listening
    • As much as possible be ‘live’ so visual clues can be used to help build trust and understanding
    • Encourage making phone calls; texting can also work at times
    • Create team rooms, discussion forums, and technology that allows input from everyone on the team

This is not an all-inclusive list, but it is a great start. Everyone needs to understand the basics of teams, stages they go through, and what teams need. Building on that foundation, leadership can begin the process to develop communication, trust, commitment, accountability and ensure their virtual team can meet the goals and objectives of the organization and produce tangible and sustainable results.

Keep an eye out for our Team Videos – coming soon!

1 Comment

  • So very apt today! These guidelines work in any business using live meetings in any app. I have a small business and have found open communication face to face changes responses and allows trust to build. Integrity in business!

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