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Leading Virtual Teams To Better Collaboration


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How efficiently and quickly you communicate with your virtual team can make a bigger impact on your business than you probably realize. It can also impact other’s perception of your leadership skills. In fact, a study from the University of Iowa found that people who typed and communicated quickly emerged as leaders over their slower peers. This same concept also applies when people communicate in person or over the phone.

The idea behind leading your team with quick and clear communication may sound intuitive but isn’t always easy to employ in a fast-paced digital world.

Figuring out what types of technology and techniques to use that fits for your team can be difficult. Start by focusing on the right training and work your way through a process that includes creating a culture of communication and transparency.

Here’s how to get started:

Offer the right technology training.

Your team can’t succeed in a virtual world without ongoing, comprehensive training. But don’t leave it up to them to figure it out on their own. Make training a stress-free event and part of your office culture that doesn’t involve long, drawn-out lectures and presentations. And remember that passing out paperwork on how to use your online project management system probably isn’t an effective way to empower your staff and motivate them to devour their training. Instead, pre-record training videos your team can watch and apply at their own convenience. And you can also look at your software and technology vendors to do the training job for you. Many providers offer ongoing webinars, video chats and conference calls to walk people through the process of using the programs and systems.

Create a sense of telepresence.

Working remotely can sometimes feel like a struggle for employees who want more face-time or miss the camaraderie of connecting in an office. It’s also possible your team members may need the accountability of face time with their supervisors to stay on task.

Regardless of why your team needs an ongoing connection, you can build virtual trust by using a virtual phone system. Use the tools to launch conference calls or virtual online chat systems to stay connected during the day. This way your team can hop on for quick questions and continue fostering that sense of telepresence. At the end of the day, staying hyper-connected can help give your collaboration a boost with the remote flexibility your company needs.

Clearly define the roles.

The freedom of working remotely can give team members the autonomy and motivation to thrive. In fact, according to a survey from Tinypulse, the overwhelming majority of remote workers feel more productive with 91 percent reporting they get more work done virtually. The same survey also shows remote workers are happier and feel more valued than their office-bound counterparts.

But productivity and happiness doesn’t necessarily lead to seamless collaboration. While your employee may understand their own roles, the rest of your team may not understand what everyone’s else’s role is and how to actually work together. Make it a point to meet virtually once a day, even if it’s for five to 10 minutes, to give a quick status update so everyone knows how projects are moving along and who is working on what. The meetings could also inspire new ideas and solutions from other team members.

Create a culture of transparency.

Better collaboration relies on staying transparent in your business. When everyone knows what’s going on with projects and clients, they can better assess their role and take more ownership in their contribution to your business. Create a culture of transparency with ongoing status reports, daily check-ins and publicly acknowledging each other’s accomplishments. It’s also wise to share some of the struggles going on. Just make sure to position those struggles as a way virtual teams can work together to accomplish your business’s big picture goals.