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Leading a Virtual Team – getting the communications right!

More and more managers are finding themselves with teams who are dispersed around the globe, from team members who work remotely, in satellite offices, onsite with clients and in other global offices.

Getting a good team dynamic and being able to communicate effectively can be even more challenging but its key to ensure the team is seen as a “virtual engaged team” and not just a “remote team” where there is a sense that they are detached and a burden on your time zone instead of building a sense of collaboration, empowerment, and commitment irrespective of where it is you work.

Good communication, great listening, valuable feedback, and today’s technology inspires and engages everyone around a unified purpose.

Here are some communication tips to promote that virtual team image and build a deeper engagement and trust:

  1. Build bonds.  Communication from the heart shows care for your people and respects their talents, competence, and skills. Get to know them as people.
  2. Show passion and commitment. Don’t be afraid to show your passion for the teams purpose and mission, you don’t want to appear disinterest and show a lack of commitment the members
  3. Understanding of culture. This is always a key component of leadership, but even more so when you have a virtual team comprising of individuals located in various cultures – they need a common understanding and acceptance of their local environments.  
  4. Be clear – far clearer than usually. Distance can minimise clarity and amplify anxiety.  As a leader you can achieve tremendous results by clarifying issues to prevent confusion and a sense of overwhelmed feelings.  
  5. Ongoing dialogue. Communicate like an explorer and watch the virtual dispersed teams engage more than ever before by seeking their perspective and ideas. Exploring the possibilities will bring everyone closer and erases the distance.
  6. Empower in a different way.  Empowering effectively is always difficult, and even more so when you are leading a virtual team. Struggling from a distance and without the support of colleagues near you, can be devastating.
  7. Be available; stay available. Ensure the team have access to you and other resources during their local time zone.  Don’t assume silence is golden or no news is good news.  Reach out and engage them in weekly video chats: “
  8. Inspire them. What you say can inspire the team to achieve great things. Be honest not blunt. Celebrate their successes and foster a sense of shared learning from mistakes. Build togetherness while respecting individuality.