5 Strategies For Leading A Virtual Team
It’s been three months since COVID-19 has forced a widespread shift to virtual workplaces. While there are benefits to working from home (like more time to sleep-in, no commuting, no in-office distractions), the drawbacks of this transition are not lacking. I think many of us can relate to working in our bedrooms and home offices, taking our lunch breaks in our kitchens, and having our kids add extra input on our conference calls.
When it comes to leading and working in virtual teams, the challenges of COVID-19 are often magnified. Communication has been stifled, technological issues have been magnified, and our sense of connectedness has been disrupted and diminished. Working in and leading teams was difficult enough when we were face-to-face. COVID-19 has amplified these challenges in more ways than one.
The bottom line is that COVID-19 has changed everything about the way we do work: some of the changes are good, and many of them are less than ideal. It’s important to acknowledge that change is uncomfortable, but we can’t live in that discomfort forever – especially in the business world.
Business leaders need to recognize the virtual difficulties that affect their teams, but they can’t stop there. They need to use this period of uncertainty as an opportunity to engage everyone into a conversation about creating a future that’s better than our present. They need to create a space where people can rethink their strategies, needs, and goals together, to create, inspire, and execute a collective vision of a better future.
In order to acknowledge the uncertainty and volatility of our business world, while working to build a collective vision for the future, leaders must reconsider individual and team goals and realign them with the company’s current organizational needs. They also need to acknowledge the limitations of working in the context of a global pandemic, and they need to strategize innovative ways to improve and alleviate these tensions.
5 Strategies For Leading A Virtual Team
- Figure out the most important goals and objectives for the future—and do it together. Bringing your team together around the common goal helps motivate everyone, and it gets them on the same page. This enables team members to find direction and purpose in their work, which can help inspire and refocus them during times of uncertainty.
- Take an inventory of the limitations everyone is currently operating with. Then, involve your team members in the goal setting and planning processes to ensure that viable deadlines can be determined and that people feel supported as they execute their projects.
- Give your team members more independence – allow them to determine themselves the best possible way to organize their work. Autonomy is one of the most effective ways to counteract uncertainty. When people feel like they have more say in a situation, they aren’t as overwhelmed by ambiguity.
- Make a step forward together. Jointly discuss tasks, processes, goals, and roles. Get as much input as you can, so you can figure out ways to make work as simple, effective, and impactful as possible.
- Make use of project management software such as Trello, Basecamp, Microsoft Project among many others so that the team’s work is visible to everyone and so that each member is clear about how they are contributing to the achievement of the team’s overall goals for the future.
Despite the uncertainty, volatility, and the constantly changing business environment, leaders have the ability to set the tone of their environment through the actions they take. Ensuring that objectives and goals are clearly defined, limitations are acknowledged, and trust and communication are prioritized, and organization of ongoing projects are streamlined; leaders can help ease the transition as we adjust to new and unfamiliar working conditions. For more helpful tips on leading a virtual team, check out 8 Habits for Leading a Remote Workforce.‹ Previous PostNext Post ›