The Virtual Path Is More Difficult
Walking on a sidewalk is vastly different than hiking a mountain trail. The trail is uneven, there can be rocks and tree roots, your footing requires extra concentration, and the overall level of effort is greater. It takes intentional focus to walk the trail. I look at leading virtual teams in the same way. Compared to leading co-located teams, managing virtual teams is more strenuous, the global footing is definitely not as sure— the path uncharted.
With remote jobs increasing 71% in 2020, many leaders continue to manage remote workers as if they were managing a co-located team. It’s simply not working. Leaders must change their approach to take advantage of the opportunities—and minimize the pitfalls—created by this new technology and work style.
The challenge? Fifty three percent of leaders we surveyed at a recent webinar said that they had NOT received any training on leading a virtual team. Extrapolating that out, and that number probably skyrockets to near 80% of leaders overall.
Setting teams up for success
The rewards are well worth it, but there are growing pains. When I tell the people that I coach that I'm going to teach them a new communication model, I tell them it will cause them some discomfort, and they will experience dissonance and possibly even resistance. I ask them to push forward and stay with the mental discomfort in order to experience higher gains. Companies with remote workers and virtual teams are at that same moment of choice today when it comes to remote work.
Companies should look to provide leaders and workers training on how to best communicate, collaborate, and lead in the virtual workplace. Teams need to understand how to communicate when there is no breakroom or hallway to have informal conversations, how they can collaborate on the fly and quickly share updates. They need guidance on recreating the connective info sharing and team building traditionally fueled by spontaneous in-office interactions in the new virtual world.
Focus on the human connection
The secret sauce comes down to how we all use this new platform to inject more humanity into our virtual communications. Here are a few key ways to do just that:
- Be intentional about all communication. Nothing happens by accident in the virtual world. You've got to make it happen. You can't pop into a teammate’s office or look over their cube wall. You won't see them in the break room getting coffee. You must create these moments with “planned spontaneity.” Both leaders and virtual teammates should set time aside on their calendar EVERY DAY to create spontaneous moments. This is what brings humanity into the process.
- Be the change. When you are a team leader, it is critical for you to model every aspect of virtual communication—and talk about what you are doing and why with your team. Team members need ways to share thoughts, and seek out the thoughts of others, through regular formal and informal connections. To shrink the distance, you need a virtual line of sight across the whole team. That comes from both regular planned and unplanned touchpoints from all on the team in all directions.
- Get to your know team members on a deeper level. Seek to understand everyone on the team through formal and informal interactions. Know their strengths and areas of competency. Connect with teammates regularly via IM, chat, email, video platform, and phone—and learn which channels are most preferred and effective for each team member. Know who you can send an IM to for some advice, know who you can pick up the phone and chat with, and know who will jump on a virtual platform call for an informal meeting. Make a habit of connecting 1:1 with someone on the team every day.
A daily dose of the secret sauce
The fixes above are not technology-focused, but rather call upon our using today’s virtual-work technologies to our advantage. Think each day about how you can shrink the virtual distance on your remote team and strengthen relationships. Then make it so, adding in that adding in an extra dollop of humanity into every virtual interaction you have across your team.
Conducting a hybrid meeting, one where some of those attending are in the room and others are virtual, is a lot harder than many think—and it’s quickly becoming the new norm.
Focusing on a few key aspects of your delivery can help you take advantage of this new meeting mode.
With remote jobs increasing in 71% in 2020, many leaders continue to manage remote workers as if they were managing a co-located team.
Yet, fifty three percent of leaders we surveyed at a recent webinar said that they had NOT received any training on leading a virtual team.
Under normal circumstances, staying present and being able to fully commit to listening is difficult. However, in this new reality of digital interaction and mental fatigue, listening has a new set of challenges.There’s good news. We can make listening easier in our virtual meetings, improving the experience of our participants! Here are a few tips.
What does the hit on Netflix called The Queen’s Gambit tell us about how to sell in a virtual setting? Actually, something very important.
Before we break down how this show teaches us the key to virtual selling let’s look at the backstory.
With the beginning of the New Year, it’s the perfect time to address the virtual communication mistakes that have become common with so many of us working virtually this past year.
Here are 3 of the most common mistakes when communicating virtually, and what you can do to overcome them.
Gratitude. Appreciation. Recognition. It makes you feel good. This week in the US, many will pause for a day or two to give thanks and show appreciation for the things and people we care about most. It’s no secret how appreciation benefits the person getting it—but did you know it benefits the person giving it just as much?
Discover why recognition is such a powerful tool for improving relationships and wellbeing in life—and at work. Learn how to (and how NOT to) express your appreciation to others.
In every virtual training workshop that Mandel delivers, we dedicate a Virtual Meeting Producer (or moderator or facilitator) to act as the Trainer’s co-pilot.
A Virtual Producer manages the meeting platform functions and mitigates any technical challenges, allowing the Trainer to focus exclusively on the learning and development of the workshop participants.
As someone who wears a virtual producer hat, here are 5 best practices to help you create engaging virtual meetings.
As part of our research into listening intelligence, we’ve detected four distinct styles (or preferences) of how people listen. These four listening styles cover what individuals pay attention to as well as what they are likely to miss in any collaboration.
Learn more about the 4 Listening Habits, and how listening impacts both the well-being and productivity of your virtual teams.
- How to deliver impactful, engaging hybrid meetings
- Leading a Virtual Team Means Doing Things Differently
- Are You Really Listening?
- 4 Listening Tips for Improving Your Virtual Meetings
- The Irresistible Power of Stories in Virtual Selling
- The Top Sales Skill for 2021!
- Top Virtual Communication Mistakes – and How to Overcome Them in 2021!
- Tell a Story. Close a Deal. Even on Zoom.
- Throwback: Why Appreciation Matters in Life and at Work
- Tips for Communicating Effectively While Wearing a Mask