Everyone’s talking about it. Everyone’s an ‘expert’ on it. The internet is awash with advice. But how do you create a genuinely high-performing virtual team? A team with the right skills – and the right mindset – to thrive in the virtual world?
By tackling the challenge to communication and collaboration that remote working inevitably brings.
Previous research by Wilson Learning shows why this is an issue here. It found that the most productive teams are both highly diverse and have the strongest communication skills. But what if those skills are poor? Highly diverse teams become the lowest-performing.
The message? Top-notch teamwork and communication skills are even more important for virtual teams, as the loss of that real-world connection means issues must be resolved in innovative ways.
Here, learning expert Dr Michael Leimbach and business development expert Dr Carl Eidson share their top tips to enable managers to lead from a distance – and virtual teams to perform at their best.
1. Build trust and rapport
Trust underpins team performance, so create opportunities to develop rapport. Make time to identify common values and establish credibility. Use video (for example, on Zoom) if you have it, as seeing faces forges a stronger bond. Incorporate social media such as WhatsApp into the way you work to encourage confidence and trust.
2. Create a strong team identity
Your team are ‘in it together’. Pre-empt isolation with a strong identity based on a shared purpose, inspiration and commitment to the same team goals. Be clear – share frequent reminders. Recognise individual and team achievements.
3. Choose the right tools for the job
Interactive, engaging, powerful – used well, the latest tech helps virtual teams share information and stay connected. Make the most of it by ensuring everyone feels comfortable with the tools. Choose accessible, reliable tech with readily available support and training. Managers should be confident with their online meeting and project management sites.
4. Share responsibility – celebrate success
High-performing virtual teams thrive when each member feels equally responsible for reaching shared goals, with clear expectations and accountability for specific tasks. Use online tools to track achievements. Schedule activities that celebrate success.
5. Prioritise strong team leadership
Everyone is responsible for their tasks, but an experienced leader remains an essential component of any successful virtual team. They keep it on track and liaise with sponsors. By understanding the ‘virtual’ challenge, they ensure communication is effective and everyone contributes as they should.
Want to learn more – including the other five ways to enable your virtual team to thrive? Download our full article here, for free.