Virtual Teams: Guidelines for Team Members
By: Laura Kilgore
In previous articles we discussed some of the benefits and challenges of virtual teams and then focused on some ways team managers can facilitate virtual teams working together to produce a quality product.
If you, however, are working as a virtual team member and want to know how to best contribute to your team’s project, we have a few guidelines for you too. Below are tips that may also be helpful for in-person teams but are much more impactful for organizations that are not face-to-face.
Know What’s Expected of You
While it is your manager’s responsibility to clearly communicate their expectations of you, it’s also your responsibility to follow up with them to make sure you understand those expectations. Especially where instructions are communicated over phone or video meetings, it’s a good idea to repeat instructions back to your manager so you can be sure you’re doing what they need you to do.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions. It’s better to be clear about project expectations and personal responsibilities than to make guesses that might necessitate more work later because things were missed or have to be redone. If you’re worried that your manager will be irritated by frequent questions, save them up to ask all at once. Having a good relationship with your manager will also facilitate clear communication between the two of you.
Think of ways to take the initiative. While it’s important to ask questions, you’ll impress everyone on your team if you can anticipate needs and stay a step ahead. You’ll make the project flow more smoothly, and your fellow team members will appreciate the value you add.
When you work alone it’s easy to slip into the habit of thinking of yourself as a team of one, but it’s important to maintain your identity as a group of people all working toward the same goal.
Up next: Communicate Clearly