Virtual teams are a trend that is running full steam ahead. These teams are connected by technology no matter their geography. They may never meet face to face or even be on the same continent but when you establish a skillful and accomplished team from around the globe, it can be a very successful collaboration.
Some companies may find it difficult to supervise a virtual team, but with goals and ground rules laid out it can be extremely successful…
- Rules: Managers or team leaders need to establish routine work rules and Internet protocol that state how the group is expected to work together. It is critical that the virtual team come together at the start of a project to review the processes and guidelines and get everyone's commitment that they will follow them.
- Communication: Since your virtual team will not have the luxury of any impromptu interactions like ones that can occur in the office like, passing in a hallway or getting a coffee, your virtual team must share information via e-mail, text messages and other social media outlets. A main source of information sharing should be created and each member will need to check the messaging system regularly and respond promptly.
- Meetings: The virtual team should establish regular meeting dates and times at the beginning of the project where updates on developments and progress can be discussed.
- Leaders: As a supervisor, you should establish and communicate guidelines to distinguish decisions that can be made by team members. This gives team members ownership of their individual tasks.
- Assessments: Behavioral assessments can be very helpful when building your virtual team because understanding into the personalities of each team member can provide valuable information on the kind of behaviors that lend themselves to working with little or no supervision.
Managing a virtual team is different than managing a team face to face. These strategies will help you to provide direction, create a sense of team, build trust and manage individual members productively.
With the many challenges leading a virtual team, there are also many methods out there to help you. By adapting and applying these practices you will have the best scenario to lead your virtual team to great success!
What ground rules do you have for your virtual team?
Dave Baney is the founder and CEO of 55 Questions, LLC. We work with successful top executives with a driving ambition to crush their competition. We help CEOs and Entrepreneurs improve alignment, communication and accountability throughout their organization. www.55Questions.com
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