How to Effectively Manage Virtual Teams
In the modern age the way in which we work has changed dramatically from traditional formats. In many different types of industries there is a high percentage of employees working on a freelance basis, and/or working remotely. If you are a manager with a remote team of staff to work with, it is important to understand how to manage a virtual team effectively.
It only takes a few little tweaks to your approach from traditional management processes to ensure that you can effectively manage a virtual team and maintain good results and performance levels on a consistent basis.
The first thing to consider is how your communication is shaped and how it works within a virtual team setting. With a virtual team you don’t get the chance to build up those relationships in the workplace where you learn how someone moves, their facial tics, and the body language that is associated with certain aspects of their mood, and working patters. It is therefore important that you minimise potential miscommunication, nipping it in the bud early on. Whether this takes the form of chat apps with clear working channels, or regular video/voice meetings to build the relationship is up to you, but it is important you don’t leave your remote team to themselves too often.
Constructive feedback and personal training are a regular and important part of face-to-face management and should also be the norm when managing a virtual team. Make time for group feedback sessions, as well as individual training sessions where there is also a chance to build trust and have a constructive feedback loop that plays into individual and team improvement. Maintain communication at regular intervals to ensure there is no room for misunderstanding and to demonstrate that you care about the personal development of your individual team members.
This all helps you to build meaningful relationships in the same way as you would be able to with team members that you manage in a physical workplace. With this approach you are more likely to help build a sense of community where every team member understands his or her value to the company and to the tasks and projects they are involved with in the short-term. Remove obstacles that create isolation, and create communication that not only keeps you in the loop with individual members of the team, but one where each team member can interact with other members of the team (as long as it doesn’t impact on work in a negative fashion – though this is a potential problem in every workplace).
There are many different ways in which you can successfully manage a virtual team, and if you are a manager looking to improve your skills in this field, or you are embarking on a business venture where you’ll be reliant on a remote team to perform tasks, you should seek out a professional training course that helps teach you the building blocks to be a good manager in any situation first, but then also provides knowledge relating to managing virtual teams specifically.