Not all managers are cut out for leading a team they don’t see face-to-face every day. But as we all know, more and more organizations are turning to virtual (distributed) teams to get work done. The benefits of virtual teams are mounting – reduced operational costs, higher productivity, the ability to hire the best, great work/life balance and employee retention and more.
In this day and age, not all leaders have the skills to lead a virtual team effectively. Simply put, the qualities of leaders of virtual teams are different from those supervising 9-5 employees. Here are the skills it takes to succeed:
- Flexibility – On virtual teams, work happens at all times of the day (and night) to accommodate members around the country and the world. More and more, people are working less traditional business hours. Leaders of remote teams need to understand that their team has been hired to produce a specific outcome and that they must adapt to members’ various work schedules and keep an eye on the big picture.
- Trust – Micro-managing from afar is a nuisance to team members and a waste of time for the team leader. Virtual team leaders know how to provide employees with what they need to produce, and that includes trusting them with doing the job they are hired to do – wherever they are.
- Communication – The idea that technology hinders communication is outdated. After all, technology is Leaders of virtual teams who communicate most effectively, most often, and most efficiently with technology are the most successful. Remote workers actually need more communication, feedback and guidance than onsite workers, so leaders need to step up their game.
- Tech-Savvy – One of the biggest failures a virtual team leader can make – beyond the inability to trust employees or to communicate effectively – is not utilizing the team’s technology tools. Whether it’s for file sharing, video conferencing, chatting, brainstorming or project management, leaders must demonstrate proficiency. Virtual teams are a cost-effective way to harness talent and maximize resources, but only if team leverages its collaborative technology.
Powers Resource Center specializes in training and supporting virtual teams and has just been approved to write a book with Wiley for the Dummies brand on this topic with a publish date of September 2018. If your leaders need some training on managing their distributed team members, give us a call at 720.295.3302.