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In recent months, many companies have been forced to work remotely. Other companies choose to work remotely over in-office work – especially when team members work across the country and around the world. The trend has led many managers to face steep learning curves to become effective virtual leaders.
"Aside from the pain and uncertainty surrounding the pandemic, this window of time has changed my leadership style and perspective on the interface between sports, media and technology in a significant way," said Jeff Volk, co-founder of GlobalVC Sports. "We work with the same tools we have: a computer, mobile devices, our relationships and our ability to add value through them. While the tools are the same, our environment is different, which leads to the implementation of new, intelligent tools has virtual working conditions that allow us to re-imagine what it really means to be present. "
"This includes far more frequent recurring check-ins using remote tools with colleagues, partners and industry colleagues," says Volk. "The most important thing is that each" meeting "begins with a personal conversation about families and how people deal with the new work-life balance. I know that our teams are more tied to innovations and therefore better connected. "
Regardless of whether you lead a team practically on a short notice in response to the COVID 19 crisis or decide to make the work virtual over the long term, it is important to proactively identify and address some of the unique challenges associated with virtual management are connected. The hardest part of remote work is developing and maintaining the strong culture that every great team has. With this in mind, here you will find four proven methods for effectively managing and managing virtual teams.
1. Standardize and prioritize communication systems
Communication is central to ensuring that your team works together on the same page and is fully committed. It is easier to communicate personally where you can see body language, read non-verbal communication better, and of course have formal and informal conversations. As a result, effective communication is one of the most challenging aspects of virtual team leadership and something that effective leaders prioritize.
An important first step is the creation of communication systems. These would include guidelines about the specific communication channel to be used, e.g. For example, when to respond with an email, when to make a phone call, when to make a video call, and when to create a more formal document.
Related topics: How to keep your team in touch during virtual meetings
It is also helpful to create some communication standards. Set meeting expectations so that meeting organizers provide agendas and necessary materials in advance, and everyone is fully engaged to minimize background noise and meet start and end times. The creation of some standards for communication channels and communication habits is an important first step in building a healthy and strong culture for virtual teams.
2. Create a working day routine with overlapping working hours
One of the advantages of managing a team virtually is that team members can work flexibly. Regardless of whether your team members are in different time zones or reconciling family and work responsibilities, the ability to set your own schedule can help make your team members more productive and satisfied with their work. While this is an important benefit to consider, it is also helpful to ensure that working hours overlap across the team.
For overlaps, create at least three to four hours every day that all team members are online, working, and available. Even if team members don't have to communicate directly, this time helps keep the team together and increases efficiency if problems or questions arise.
Related: 3 ways to manage a team and talent remotely
In addition, planning a daily check-in during these overlapping working hours helps to improve communication and team culture. A video call every day at the same time helps bring the team together, create routine and rhythm for the day, and provide a team-wide opportunity for regular check-ins and updates.
Have clearly defined work systems
The risk of misunderstandings and ineffective communication is increased if you lead a team virtually. In order to minimize these risks, it is helpful to have clearly defined work systems. This should include how tasks are assigned, how projects are pursued and how work is shared and presented.
Coordination is inherently more difficult when working remotely. It is all the more important for managers to have effective processes and systems for the workflow. While it's important to avoid micromanagement, some well-defined work systems help keep your team on the right track and on the same page.
Prioritize one-to-one communication
One of the most important aspects of being a good leader is effective performance management. However, coaching takes place less naturally and less when it is carried out virtually. Avoid this common mistake by prioritizing coaching interactions and making them part of your team's weekly or even daily routine.
Regular one-on-one meetings with each of your team members are not only critical for performance management and coaching, but also for reviewing project status and providing feedback. They also allow executives to focus team members on the larger organizational vision, ensure that all team members are invested and committed, and verify that all team members feel connected to the team and organizational goals.
Next year it will be more important than ever to be an effective virtual leader. Learning to lead a team virtually helps you stay flexible, meet all of your employees' needs, and recruit and retain the most talented people. While it can be difficult to create a strong culture that all large teams have, you can take discrete measures to build virtually cohesive and effective teams. Start with these four best practices to become a more effective manager and leader.
Related: The 3 Meetings You Should Have for Remote Workers