Successfully Leading A Virtual Team
People no longer need to be in the same physical location to work together. Participants can contribute from any part of the world, at any time of day or night. Breaking down the barriers of space and time has allowed many companies to take advantage the expertise of individuals within the organization.
Virtual teams often have members who are geographically dispersed and cross-functional yet work on highly interdependent tasks. This can present unique leadership challenges. As more and more organizations adopt virtual teams, it is important that they understand and adopt the strategies that work and avoid the ones that do not. I am currently both a member of a virtual team and I also lead a virtual team. Here are some of the strategies I have seen that works well: 1) establishing and maintaining trust through the use of communication technology; 2) ensuring that distributed diversity is understood and appreciated; 3) managing virtual work-life cycle (meetings and working late); 4) monitoring team progress using technology; 5) enhancing visibility of virtual members within the team and outside in the organization; and 6) enabling individual members of the virtual team to benefit from the team.
These are just a few strategies leaders can implement to ensure that their virtual team establishes a firm foundation and that leaders are able to successfully realize the promise virtual teams hold.