A Virtual Necessity in Business Today

So imagine you were picked as captain of the flag football team in your school? Would you know how to choose from the kids in that building to make the best team? This happens every day in gym classes across the country and kids usually do something like this. They take a few of their friends of course, but then they start analyzing just what they need to make a successful team-maybe Sarah is fast and Ahman is huge-a good football team would have some of many different types of traits and skills.

Now instead of picking this team from people you know spread it out from schools across the country, across the world. Maybe you won't even get to pick-maybe the players will be assigned to your team. Oh yeah, and one more thing…you never actually will meet to practice on the same playing field until the big game.

This is what happens in business all the time. Teams are formed virtually across the miles and leaders are expected to manage the diverse group of players without so much as a scouting report! Distance can affect a team's ability to communicate, share common goals, and resolve conflicts. But if leaders apply some best practices to their virtual teams it is possible to have a high trusting, high performing team. The MIT Sloan Management Group shows that a virtual team can perform as well, if not better, then a collocated team if leaders take the time to lay a foundation. Learn more.

The highest performing virtual teams:
  • Communicate on non-task or social things in the initial 2 weeks of a project or group formation-this helps builds trust.

  • Express excitement to each other in their communication over the task at hand in any emails or correspondence.

  • Plan extra time initially to build trust and relationships.

  • Share expertise and member's accomplishments to build team competence.

  • Develop a shared identity and encourage spontaneous communication but beware of overload for less extroverted members.

  • Do not leave people out of the process or communication-update colleagues that miss a virtual discussion so everyone is "in the loop."

  • Agree on rules for response time and message acknowledgement to avoid conflicts.
Leadership Solutions has a game plan to help you lead virtually. With new seminars and web-based learning you too can have field a winning team. Learn more about Virtual Assessments.

Leaders in Coaching and Leadership Development

Donna Dennis
Telephone: 609-497-1997