Virtual Teams: Guidelines for Team Leaders
By: Laura Kilgore
As we discussed in our previous newsletter, managing virtual teams has both its challenges and benefits. Here, we’re going to explore some specific guidelines for managers of virtual teams that can help streamline the transition from face-to-face to remote. Many management tactics can be transferred to the virtual world, but will just look a little different.
Be clear about expectations at the outset. Good managers are always clear about the departmental structure and long-term goals of the team. But with virtual teams, it’s also essential to clarify individual tasks and processes. While your employees might feel comfortable asking the little questions in person, they might feel silly spending time seeking those minute clarifications over email or the phone. That’s why it’s important to make sure expectations are clear.
Establish ground rules at the outset for communication and accountability. Make sure each member of your team knows who they’re directly accountable to so they never feel lost. Remember: you set the tone for communication in your group. Make sure it’s clear, concise, and always courteous.
Check in periodically. Follow through carefully. Create rhythm with weekly or monthly meetings that meet consistently at the same time. If you have team members in different time zones, rotate the meeting times regularly so the burden of signing in early or staying late doesn’t fall on a single group.
Up next: Facilitate Communication and Relationships, followed by Use Technology