What traits should virtual team members possess to become valuable contributors?
Human resource executives will agree that teamwork is essential to any organization reaching their goals. However, working in a virtual team adds a level of complexity to an already multifaceted organization. When virtual team members are dispersed across the nation (or the globe), they may miss out on building a connection with others and this can result in lack of trust, resistance to accept initial ideas from others and decreased efficiency when performing tasks.
High-performing virtual teams are not built overnight, but they do have one consistent aspect – a virtual team leader that is respected and understood. In addition, virtual team leaders will incorporate the three Cs to bring out the best in their virtual team members:
- Communication – A virtual team leader can improve the interactions between their virtual team members and help to set clear expectations by preparing a communications plan and team operating agreements. Team operating agreements are similar to ground rules for meetings, yet they extend beyond a meeting to the duration of the project. Team operating agreements are sometimes stand-alone and sometimes developed as an extension of the communications management plan.
- Commitment – Virtual team leaders who believe the mantra “yes, I can do it” can empower virtual team members to adopt a set of productive behaviors, such as persevering, creative problem solving, goal commitment, and ability to self-manage most conflict. In turn, these behaviors have a positive effect on goal-setting and future performance.
- Collaboration – Whether your virtual team is comprised of mobile workers or international experts, it is important to stay connected while remote. It is common for virtual members to feel, in between hearing from your team members, that no work is being done. To build trust between their team members, virtual leaders must keep members interested and active during virtual meetings. This can be achieved by leveraging communications and collaboration technology to drive engagement and reduce multi-tasking.
Ready to assess the skills required for your virtual team leaders and members? Contact us about our Long Distance Leadership Model™ and Assessment today!