10 Ways to Lead a Virtual Team

10 Ways to Lead a Virtual Team

Stay ConnectedStay Connected

As the proportion of remote team members increases and locations become dispersed, successful virtual teams protect the conditions that lead to candid dialogue. 71% of respondents on successful teams engage daily or weekly with non-business conversations, and 86% reach out to colleagues in other locations just to keep in touch.

Encourage CollaborationEncourage Collaboration

77% of unsuccessful teams say a quarter of their meetings are monologues. In contrast, only 6% of successful teams have a similar amount of limited monologues.

Make the Team Feel Like a TeamMake the Team Feel Like a Team

Successful teams don’t let distance get in their way. 68% have more than half of their members in different locations and 85% of successful teams have 25% remote members.

Encourage Team Leaders to Set ExamplesEncourage Team Leaders to Set Examples

The sooner a team starts to act like a virtual team, the greater the chances for success. The following seven slides contain tips for how best to interact with remote teams.

Initiate Quick Personal ConversationsInitiate Quick Personal Conversations

Initiate a phone call by showing interest in your employees. Let them know it’s nice to cross paths again. You can ask, for example, “How was your trip?” Get them to say more than “Hi.”

Conducting Conference CallsConducting Conference Calls

Keep conference call groups small to support dialogue. Handle one-to-one items off-line. Call on remote members by their names.

Office-Based and Remote Workers Should EngageOffice-Based and Remote Workers Should Engage

Encourage the office-based contingent of the team to engage with remote workers by assigning tasks they can collaborate on and share responsibility for the outcome.

Don't Postpone DiscussionsDon’t Postpone Discussions

It’s best to not hold off on discussions until a conference call can be scheduled. The most successful teams do only 27% of their collaboration in scheduled meetings. Encourage team members to call and exchange ideas and information as needed.

How to Respond to Anxious E-mailsHow to Respond to Anxious E-mails

When you receive a virtual cry of angst, call the writer. That can dramatically change the team member’s day and his or her relationship to the team. Using IM can also help virtual team members feel less isolated.

Differentiate Between a Discussion and a BriefingDifferentiate Between a Discussion and a Briefing

If you must deliver lots of information to many people, consider writing or recording the briefing information. Let the team to absorb the briefing on its own time. Record a narration for your PowerPoint presentation. Record the slides and talk track in your online conferencing tool. Write a bulleted brief. Use Brainshark or selects to record screens and narration. Then schedule a shorter call for discussion.

Schedule Virtual Coffee BreaksSchedule Virtual Coffee Breaks

If your team members were in an office, they would chat first thing in the morning, over lunch, at the water cooler, etc. That’s not a waste of time. The rules are no different for virtual teams. Schedule 15 minutes of agenda-less time just to talk about the business.

Karen A. Frenkel
Karen A. Frenkel
Karen A. Frenkel is a contributor to CIO Insight. She covers cybersecurity topics such as digital transformation, vulnerabilities, phishing, malware, and information governance.

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