Managing Virtual Teams

As more people work away from the typical office setting, the manager’s job also evolves to meet today’s workplace needs. LinkedIn Learning Instructor Phil Gold hopes that at the end of this course, you’ll have real-world tools to help you manage your virtual team and help the members continue as satisfied and productive workers.

Make sure that you have well-documented procedures in place for a virtual team that are consistently followed. Define goals around how to communicate, when people are available, agreeable turnaround times and who can do which tasks. This solidly-defined set of norms smooths team interactions, builds trust among team members and allows for accountability.

Share information and recognition equally and consistently among the team members—this helps avoid confusion and prevents team members from feeling disconnected. 

Delegate authority within the team—give people the opportunity to lead a particular project when the skills necessary fall under their expertise or they’ve learned a new skill that’s necessary for that project. If you see someone floundering, step in as soon as possible. Reach out to them privately and give them the opportunity to succeed, but don’t be afraid to pull the plug if you have to, either. 

As a manager, you have the responsibility to keep the team connected. Maintain regular contact with team members by having frequent and regular communication via various platforms with your team members. Encourage your team members to occasionally share non-work related projects, accomplishments and information to build a chance for the team to get to know each other as people. 

When you give feedback to employees, have private one-on-one meetings. Make sure your feedback is specific, outlines the cause and effect of the employee’s behavior and make sure it is a conversation. Ask for the employee’s perspective of their performance and feedback and follow up with an email capturing the key points. Make your team one-on-ones a priority. 

When something changes in the organization, announce and summarize the shift via email and set up a virtual meeting. Use that time to discuss how it will affect the team, give team members an opportunity to voice reactions and discuss how the team will respond to the change. Make any decisions as collaboratively as possible. Wrap up and send a follow-up email to the team documenting the discussion from the meeting and any decisions made. If workers have specific concerns or the change affects them more than others, set up a one-on-one privately with them.

Communicating freely and openly with your team members is the single biggest factor in successfully leading any team—remote or otherwise.

Copyright 2020 American Chemical Society (All Rights Reserved)

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