It's a critical challenge many organizations face: how do you gain high-quality and high impact performance when a team is distributed across geographic regions? If you asked IBM and Yahoo, they might say, "You can't" and recommend that you bring teams from the field back to co-located offices.
However there is plenty of research that indicates that virtual teams can be productive, creative, and effective. What does it take to ensure those results? Virtual leaders must attend to questions such as:
- Who's on the team and are they able to work well independently?
- What communication methods should we use?
- How should we build trust among team members?
- What technological tools might we leverage to increase connection and productivity?
- How can the leader build a culture of high performance?
These questions point to four areas of focus for virtual leaders: relationship, reliability, results, and recognition.
We recently began to work with a company that has relied on virtual managers guiding remote teams for several years. Many of the management practices they are skilled at when dealing with face-to-face employees are not translating well to the virtual work environment. Despite having access to tools such as SharePoint (for collaboration) and Skype for Business (for coaching and meetings), the managers continue to hold meetings by phone, sending out materials by email in advance. Occasionally, they might display a PowerPoint from their desktops during a virtual meeting, but, essentially, they are not capitalizing on the technology that can help them achieve high impact. They are now improving their communication methods while increasing connection and productivity on their virtual teams.
To learn how you can develop high-impact teamwork in your virtual workplace, plan to attend our next one-hour, complimentary webinar, Leading High-Impact Virtual Teams, on Thursday, October 19, 1:00 pm ET / 10:00 am PT.
If you missed the September webinar, Achieving Maximum Retention: More Brain-based Principles for the Virtual Classroom, you may want to register for the next offering, coming up on Tuesday, October 24, 2:00 pm ET / 11:00 am PT.