It’s hard enough to be a good leader when your team members are in the same room as you, but what about when they are located all across the country? When you don’t work with people face-to-face, things immediately become more challenging. However, remote working and virtual teams are the way of the future so leaders must learn to adapt. Business leaders need to recognize the virtual difficulties that affect their team and learn how to adjust their strategies to better serve and engage their employees. Let’s take a look at a few things leaders can do to overcome the challenges of leading a virtual team.
Set Goals Together
Figure out which goals are most important and set clear goals and objectives as a team. Make sure everyone’s goals are aligned so you can all be on the same page. This gives team members direction and purpose, even during times of uncertainty. Once the goals are set, check in with your team regularly to assess how well these goals are being met. This is a great way to keep everyone motivated and working toward the same purpose.
Create a Routine
People like a sense of predictability and routine and that’s no different when you’re leading a virtual team. Perhaps you can implement a Monday morning conference call to set weekly goals or a Friday Zoom meeting to share important updates from the week. Feel free to be as creative as you like, as long as there is a regular line of communication.
Choose the Same Platforms
These days there are dozens of ways to share information and communicate with team members, but if everyone is not using the same platforms, important information could easily get lost and some employees may miss something critical. For this reason, you want to make sure everyone on your team is utilizing the same platforms and communication tools. It’s also a good idea to make use of project management software such as Trello, Basecamp, or Microsoft Project so each team member is on the same page.
Make Time for Team Building
Virtual teams are at risk of losing the human element of the workplace and this can make it harder for employees to stay engaged and feel like part of the team. Make it a point to focus on team building from time to time by taking part in virtual team building activities. You can also encourage discussions and personal communication as a team so employees can get to know one another. Finally, it can be helpful to schedule quarterly face-to-face meetings to build positive team relationships.
Be Clear About Expectations
Since you can’t see your employees and what they are doing every second of the day, it’s important to be clear about your expectations right from the start. Your employees need to know when to expect phone calls, when to have tasks completed, and when to be prepared for a Zoom meeting. Make sure everyone is well aware of what their duties and responsibilities are so there is no confusion.