The biggest challenges that remote teams find are communication and motivation. Because there is no face-to-face contact and no water cooler, the channels and procedures of communication inside the company need to be clear and powered up. Managers of virtual teams need to realize that their team is distributed and they need to use different communication and managerial strategies.
A good manager, especially in virtual teams, will identify team needs before they are latent and become a challenge. This is why it is crucial to listen to the team. If you have a committed team, they will tell you where to improve and what to change before it is too late. If the manager knows how to listen, he/she will implement the changes before getting to a critical situation. This naturally results in nontraumatic change, where the team members feel like their opinion is valued and have reasons to be motivated.
In order to have a motivated, productive and sustainable team, you need to apply “super communication” at all levels.
Try to be more assertive, proactive and enthusiastic. Propose solutions when you see that a person is somehow blocked and not giving the best of oneself. Lead by example.
When working with a distributed team, not only should you communicate better, but you should also communicate more. Here are some ways to improve:
The virtual world gives us many possibilities for communication. Use the standard mails, VoiP solutions, video conferencing tools, intranets, private social media platforms, project management tools, you name it! Do not underestimate the power of a written by hand note to surprise your team.
If you are not sure about a new channel, try it with a small group and if it works, implement it for the rest of the team.
When managers achieve “super communication,” team members tend to reproduce what they like about their leader and spread the new way of working. Soon enough the entire organization will work better.
Try to find the balance between sending messages when they are needed and they will help and sending too many messages. Remember that your team’s job is not to read your messages, they have objectives and goals to reach, so do not distract them with too much communication.
Each team is different so we recommend you to take a lean approach and enjoy the experience!