Virtual Managers and their need to “Super communicate”
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“Super communication” happens when the manager increases the amount of communication with and within the team, and diversifies the channels, but even more importantly, when the manager communicates more assertively and in a more positive and encouraging way.
Communication: Something to improve
The biggest challenges that remote teams face are communication and motivation. Because there is no face-to-face contact and no water cooler chit-chat, the channels and procedures of communication within 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 than they would in an on-site context.
First listen to your team
A good manager, especially in virtual teams, will identify team needs before they are latent and turn into a challenge. This is why it is crucial to listen to the team members. If you have a committed virtual team, they will tell you where to improve and what to change before it is too late. If the manager knows how to listen, they will implement the changes before the situation becomes critical. This will naturally result in non-traumatic change, meaning that the team members will feel like their opinion is valued and will 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 team member is somehow blocked and not giving their best.
- 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:
- Give more feedback and always try to be assertive when you do so.
- Be patient - you will need to repeat things. Even if your instructions are documented, the workers might have questions. Answer them kindly, and you will receive great results from your team.
- Send messages even for the small things. If you use a proper project management tool, the messages will be available for your team to see whenever they do a certain task.
- Say “thank you” as often as you can.
Diversify the channels
The virtual world provides us with many possibilities for communication. Use the standard emails, VoiP solutions, video conferencing tools, intranets, private social media platforms, project management tools, you name it! Do not underestimate the power of a message written by you personally to surprise your team.
If you are unsure about a new communication channel, try it out with a small group, and if it works, implement it for the rest of the team.
“Super Communication” is contagious
When managers achieve “super communication,” team members will tend to reproduce what they like about their leader, and spread the new way of working with their teammates. Soon enough, the entire organization will work better.
“Super communication” is not “over communication”
Try to find the balance between sending messages when they are needed and can 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!