With virtual teams on the rise, it is more and more important that we familiarize ourselves with the effective techniques of managing a remote organization. This may be a daunting task to those new to the skills and technology needed to motivate, engage, and lead virtual teams, but with the proper training anyone can create a sense of unity, productivity, and support through remote platforms. In this blog, I will share my top three pieces of advice for managers who are new to leading virtual teams.
Adapt to New Technology
I started working virtually in 2004, then, I led global teams using only a laptop and my telephone. Nowadays, we have a multitude of technological software and virtual platforms where managers can connect with their teams, see them virtually, and communicate with them in real-time. Ensure that your department has the tools and resources needed to successfully collaborate with both employees and managers to create a cohesive remote environment for all team members. For the employees that are struggling to adapt, spend time with them and provide video tutorials.
Schedule Frequent and Purposeful Meetings
As we move into the virtual workspace, don’t forget that you have to lead your entire team through this transition as well! I would recommend scheduling a department meeting where you and your team can discuss the process of shifting to a virtual team and actively listen to their questions and challenges regarding this change. Be open to concerns and have helpful information handy for frequent technology issues. Additionally, use this initial transition meeting to set clear expectations for your remote team. Be direct about the organization’s standards and your needs as a manager. Follow this meeting up with weekly or bi-monthly department meetings in order to ensure that your team is continuing to succeed and thrive even when working remotely.
Communication is essential for any team, whether in the office or working from hundreds of miles apart. Ensure that you and your team are on the same page by establishing strong lines of contact with each of your employees, corporate, as well as your mentors or other individuals in your professional life. When sharing information, try not to overload your team with emails or long, meticulous messages; these can be hard to read and process. Instead, stay engaged through a variety of platforms like video chats, phone calls, and even instant messages, and learn which of these techniques works best with each of your employees. Some of my team members even prefer texts! By improving your virtual communication skills you will strengthen your ties to your remote team and increase connection throughout your organization.
Managing teams can be a challenging task on its own without the added complexity of virtual interfaces. These tips will help those of you transitioning into a remote workforce and improve the connection of your organization through added communication, useful meetings, and integral technology. They will help you unify and lead your remote team and ensure productivity, accountability, and engagement from your employees.
Dima Ghawi is the founder of a global talent development company with a primary mission for advancing individuals in leadership. Through keynote speeches, training programs, and executive coaching, Dima has empowered thousands of professionals across the globe to expand their leadership potential. Reach her at DimaGhawi.com and BreakingVases.com.