Virtual teams are becoming the norm increasingly, especially in the wake of COVID-19. While conventional teams work in a shared physical environment, virtual teams collaborate from remote locations. Even beyond Covid-19 virtual teamwork appears to be here to stay…

Difference between Managing Virtual and Conventional Teams

Online leadership development training experts suggest that in general, leaders should have the ability to provide a shared vision and motivate the team to better performance. Merely overseeing task execution is the job of an administrator, not a leader.

Virtual team leaders have to navigate a unique challenge in that they have to translate face to face skills used in a normal workplace to situations where team members are located remotely and technology replaces intimate connections in the traditional work environment.

Six Key Attributes for Virtual Team Leadership

Primary Challenges of Managing a Virtual Team

Managing team members in the absence of any face-to-face interaction bring its own unique set of challenges. Although virtual teams use the latest technologies, communication challenges across virtual teams can be much more complicated than communicating with a team working within the four walls of your office.

Some common roadblocks include differing cultural norms, asynchronous time zones, and team members who are not at ease communicating by video. Groupism, exclusion, negative vibes, and differing styles of communication are some of the challenges of virtual team management. Some team members may be perceived as brusque, abrupt, or rude while others may be assumed to be meek, non-participatory, or timid (both perceptions may be incorrect).

Lack of visual communication cues (facial expressions, body language, posture, gestures, and so on) are amongst the most significant barriers to virtual communication.

Six Must-Have Attributes for Virtual Leadership:-

As virtual teamwork gains increasing traction in the global environment, what are the key qualities required for effective virtual team leadership?

1. Empathy

Empathy becomes even more critical in a virtual environment due to the lack of physical proximity. Keep in mind that electronic communications can be ambiguous and one should not jump to conclusions regarding tone and intention.

2. Communication Skills

Virtual teamwork can leave employees feeling disconnected from a shared vision and common goals. As much as possible, always choose the more positive way to interpret communications.

3. Accountability

Leaders should use a project management app to help set clear goals and monitor progress. This helps prevent big mistakes at a later stage.

4. Availability

Set up weekly check-ins, share your calendar, and schedule video chats. Make it easy for your employees to reach you.

5. Flexibility

Successful virtual leaders embrace flexibility, trust their teammates, and let them work in a way that suits them the best.

6. Consistency

Set consistent processes, expectations, practices, and goals and ensure that these are culturally sensitive. Virtual team leaders must be able to adapt without being unpredictable at the same time.

Online diversity training can help you harness the benefits of inclusive virtual teams.