Are you leading your virtual team to success, or are you letting poor communication keep your team from reaching its full potential?
It has been widely understood that communication is the backbone to a successful company. A good communication strategy is critical for the success of all team members. In a new environment void of rules and norms, virtual environments need a consistent communication approach to ensure all team members can thrive in this new virtual environment. It’s important that all team members understand the preferred methods to communicate information, whether it’s an internal messaging system to keep your entire team connected, email or zoom calls, it's important to set the standard and keep it consistent.
Internally, we’ve adapted a model of communication that focuses on face to face communications for check-ins and information sharing. Outside of these important meetings, teams are free to crush goals and work on their projects. It’s important to find a good time to check in with your team (or teams) on a consistent basis, be it a morning kickoff call or a weekly accountability zoom meeting. Adding in face-to-face meetings allows for more connection and offers you a chance to see and interact with your team in a more engaging way. Adding in these consistent opportunities to touch base as a team, share ideas and track goals will keep your team moving forward.
Level-Up Tip: Outside of checking in with your teams, it can be an added benefit to schedule quick 15 minute calls with each of your team members on a weekly basis to touch base, share ideas and check on the overall health of your team member. It’s ok to get more personal and offer virtual support!
In a study of 70 virtual teams, almost 82% fell short of their goals and 33% rated themselves as largely unsuccessful.
Most virtual teams cited their reasons for falling short due to lack of communication. Thus it’s important that your entire team is aware of goals and timelines. However, virtual teams aren't unproductive. In fact, a well working virtual team can be more productive with proper goal setting and accountability.
It is important to set achievable goals, stick to timelines, and be realistic when it comes to meeting deadlines. Set times each week to check in on projects and progress, this can help your team identify struggles or issues before the deadline passes. It’s important to do this in a way that still allows for team members to have the freedom to own and complete their projects within the timeline, while still holding everyone accountable for their individual contributions.
In a recent study, nearly 47 percent of employees in non-virtual environments felt they didn’t get enough appreciation from their leaders.
Virtual team members require as much as, if not more, recognition. While remote workers give the illusion of a better work life balance, they’re equally as likely to feel unconnected and unappreciated as their in-person counterparts. A regular 9-5 is surrounded by peers in a collaborative environment while working and is well aware of their significance to the team’s success. Working in a Virtual space can be a lonely place, and team members are more likely to feel isolated and unappreciated for their contributions.
It’s important to take the time to acknowledge wins for your team, no matter how small! Get in the habit of thanking your team. Not only will this instill confidence in your virtual team, but it helps build trust too.
Flexibility with your team goes a long way in building trust with your team, but it’s important there are times each day where team members are expected to be online so they can be utilized by their teams. Regardless of what time zones your team members are in, it is recommendable to have at least three to four hours a day where most of the team is accessible. Even if some of the team members are unlikely to need each other to complete their tasks, being online at the same time brings the team closer together and is the quickest problem solving solution there is. Outside of these hours, allow team members decide how they want to plan out their days, as long as goals are consistently being met.