“Leadership is not a matter of authority, it is a matter of influence. A true leader teaches others to understand more, motivates them to be more and inspires them to become more.” — Michael Josephson
Creating and organizing a virtual team is one thing, but in order to indeed be successful, you must learn to lead and inspire effectively. The key is to communicate clearly and establish systems while encouraging your team members to be the best they can be.
The Psychology of Communication in Virtual Teams
Since remote teams face unique challenges in comparison to face-to-face teams, particularly in regards to both verbal and nonverbal cues, you need to implement key strategies that optimize clear, concise communication. In turn, you’ll enforce the concept of shared understanding, which is imperative to virtual team success.
The key is to build trust by encouraging open communication. To do so, schedule a video conference call, allowing your virtual team to meet you and one another. This will significantly reduce the risk of miscommunication and let your virtual team build social bonds.
Relationship-building also helps when it’s time to collaborate — so encourage a culture of communication from the get-go. Taking the time to get to know your virtual assistant is imperative, and when you do connect regularly, be sure to focus on:
- Your unique relationship, asking about them and their current well-being
- Upcoming dates and deadlines, so that you’re on the same page
- Their experience in regards to new projects and ideas
- Your goals and how they can be achieved
- Any obstacles — either that you’d like to overcome or that your virtual assistant would like to discuss
The Principles of Effective Behavior Change
As more and more enterprises conduct business through virtual teamwork, new systems and processes need to be developed in order to maximize productivity. If you would like to alter your team’s current behavior to get more done, you need to lead differently than you would in a more formal managerial role.
Although you should focus on building a relationship with your virtual team members, you’ll also need to establish work rules and procedures. For example, should your team member(s) share information via email, a program such as Basecamp, or another method of communication?
When your team has a clear understanding of what it is they’re expected to do, their behavior will follow. However, you should also ensure that your team members feel empowered to make some of their own decisions, especially when those decisions are related to their area of expertise.
Tactics to Better Influence Your Team
When leading a virtual team, you need to focus on the fundamentals of successful leadership. This includes running regular meetings, developing clear goals, and highlighting individual strengths throughout your team.
Some tactics you can implement, include:
- Having an open chat room where team members can leave messages and questions.
- Choosing the right communication style depending on your needs, priorities, and team members.
- Setting clear deadlines that indicate a sense of urgency while remaining reasonable and clear.
- Increase accountability by assigning specific tasks to specific team members. When doing so, do not assign tasks verbally. Instead, send brief yet concise guidelines via the communication channel of your choosing.
Selecting and Implementing the Right Technology
Although you can create a talented team, this will not be enough. A virtual team requires the right tools and technology to ensure each goal is met. From the importance of a CRM to the benefits of project tracking, this guide will help you optimize your current systems in order to grow your overall revenue.
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