While some industries were testing the pros and cons of their employees working remotely prior to the arrival of Covid-19, the work option wasn’t a focus like it is now. The pandemic took the world off guard, and today, many people are working from home without the proper support. Here’s what you need to know about developing leadership skills for managing virtual teams.
1. Let Go of the Micromanaging Mindset
Instead of overseeing your team from a controlling mindset, place your ego on the backburner and acknowledge your vulnerabilities. Be okay with the idea that you won’t have all of the answers. Embrace a humble attitude and welcome a childlike interest.
This different mindset will help you focus on common achievements by noticing and influencing varying skills, perspectives, and cultures within your team. When you release a micromanaging mindset, you’ll be better equipped to lead multicultural teams, which are more common with remote work. If you have a multicultural team, then it’s extremely important to be able to identify and manage conflict.
Tap into your sympathetic and empathetic side. When you genuinely care about the people you’re leading, it’s easier to develop trust, which is what people need to perform effectively. It’s important to realize that working remotely comes with different challenges. For instance, if you attempt to reach someone and they don’t answer right away, this doesn’t mean that they aren’t working.
Pay attention to your communication skills when leading people remotely because you won’t have the same methods available. Keep in mind that people communicate with their body language, mouth, and eyes. Misunderstandings are more likely to occur with remote leadership.
2. Offer Transparency
Leadership skills examples include embracing open communication. Create a transparent environment, one that allows each worker to take initiative without concern. As a leader, do your best to form a path that allows clear communication. This step will strengthen proactive actions and encourage responsibility.
When you provide a transparent environment, you’ll remove uncertainties about the company. You’ll also give your workers a greater sense of control during tough times. This will keep your employees feeling connected since they’ll be focused on a common goal. They will also feel like they’re a part of something important. Transparency will help you build a stable company culture.
3. Become Comfortable with Technology
These days, technology is imperative to running a company. Leadership skills examples for managing virtual teams include becoming comfortable with technology. This requires more than just being skilled at using the tools needed for virtual meetings or being familiar with live chat apps. Successful virtual team managers oversee the digital changes in their divisions. They also prioritize turning the latest technological advancements into calculated decision-making procedures and invest in technology that will improve productivity and implement their talents better within the team.
Provide training for your team. Make sure that your people know about any new products or services that are being rolled out. Also, when new technology becomes available, schedule time to train your people. According to a survey that included 440 employees from eight different businesses, an estimated 60% of the companies didn’t offer virtual team training. Specialized training will send people off to work at home more prepared. You can make sure that they know how to operate everything and how to do their jobs properly.
4. Be Consistent and Fair
As a virtual leader, it’s important for you to be consistent and fair when making decisions. Your team will be more productive if they can predict how you’ll react to situations. When leaders run things consistently, employees feel freer because they know that within particular limits, they can do what’s needed to get their jobs done.
If a manager is unpredictable, then his or her workers won’t know what they can or can’t do. This will make your staff feel restricted. It will also make your workload bigger. Consider an organizational restructure. Employees need to understand what’s happening with it and how it will affect them.
Make sure that you’re providing your people with as much certainty as you can. For instance, if you tell someone that you’ll get back to them by a particular time, then do it. Even if you don’t have an answer, contact the person to notify them of this.
5. Develop a Remote Team Culture
Managing virtual teams includes developing a remote team culture. While it might feel tired to use icebreaker questions and participate in games that help people get to know one another, you can make them fun and meaningful. Look for ways to bring your employees together using virtual apps. Catch people off guard by asking unusual questions. You could even invite team members to participate in a virtual run/walk, one that they can do as they wish.
Set aside time to get to know each member of your team personally. Ask them about their families and what they like to do for fun. When you’re meeting with them, see how their weekend went and if they’re doing okay.
6. Make Yourself Available
One of the toughest parts of managing a team remotely is that you’ll be missing out on in-person communication. When you’re with someone in person, you can tap into how the other person is feeling by paying attention to their voice tone and facial expressions. This ability is lost when people are communicating remotely. Make sure that your employees know when you’re available. Be there when they reach out to you with questions or concerns.
Leadership Skills for Virtual Teams
Developing leadership skills for virtual teams requires creativity and a willingness to tweak your in-person management techniques. For additional assistance, reach out to us at the Productivity Intelligence Institute.