Proven Tips on how to Lead Virtual Teams
We are living in a century of advanced communication due to improved technology. This implies that people are well connected and communicates effectively from any location; something that never existed before. For any business to succeed, communication must be active. The same rule applies to virtual teams which is the contemporary practice among businesses whether big or small. As a result, there are new changes in how the business operates. Such changes include benefits and challenges and how to handle them.
You may wonder what virtual teams are all about. Well, they are simply a set of people working for a big organization, but their localities are far from each other. The team is guided by a leader who foresees all the activities. The leader has a duty to ensure that the team works effectively and deliver quality results despite not meeting face to face. Some of the best tips to lead your virtual team to produce quality work are as follows:
Set up Communication Strategies:
Since it is not possible to deal with virtual teams face to face, it becomes difficult to measure the performance of each employee, and this can lead to reduced productivity which can then bring down the reputation of the company and your name as their leader.
As a leader of virtual teams, you are required to put in place a system that will lead to faster and easy ways of communicating. The system should outline the timeframe within which a message or a response should be passed across to avoid inconveniences. All the virtual teams involved should set agreements concerning means of communication, time, messages to pass across, and the language to use. The leader should be a role model so that his or her employees follow the same trend. Unit and trust should always remain the core principle, and everything else will fall in place.
Maintain a manageable team:
In the real sense, the larger the virtual team size, the more complex it is to manage. As a virtual manager, always focus on maintaining a team of utmost thirteen people. With a small size, it is always easy to set up means of communication and measure every employee’s performance. When as a manager you have a big number of virtual teams, most employees tend to be reluctant on their duties believing that their efforts do not have much significance to the company; which will lead to inadequate production. Also, a small team gives the boss ample time of delegating duties and responsibilities to each member. When the boss reaches the workers personally, they feel unique and put in a lot of effort to deliver the best.
Note: When as a leader you maintain a small team, you can study and analyze everyone’s behavior including what they like and what they don’t. Being able to read your employee’s psychology is very important when it comes to handling virtual teams.
Understand time differences among your virtual teams:
A virtual team is a trend taking place in the whole world due to advanced technology. This means that the members of virtual teams are working in different localities, hence different time zones. The different time zones can actually be an obstacle to the success of an organization. As a manager, you must know the time zones of your virtual teams so that you know the perfect time to initiate communication such as videoconferencing to avoid inconveniences. Also, the moments for meetings should be fair on all teams involved to avoid other employees having to work odd hours or waking up at odd hours. Let them do it at their own will but not from you as the leader.
Lack of trust among virtual teams implies that there is no open communication, and this will lead to failure. Poor communication equals to lack of trust. As a boss, it is your obligation to ensure maximum communication that will create trust among the employees.
To ensure the trust is maintained among your employees, put strategies such as employees meetings after a given period of time. The importance of trust is to encourage increased productivity of your company. Also, when the virtual teams meet, they have an opportunity to interact and exchange ideas. The interaction builds the bond to be stronger, thereby improving trust among the virtual teams.