Avoid Common Pitfalls
Not Building Relationships
- When you are in a virtual environment, it is easy to get work done with apps like Teams, but it is difficult to build trust and to develop connections. Be purposeful about connecting with each teammate individually and bringing your team together. While it may seem impossible to find the time to build relationships, they are they are essential building block of high performing teams. Meaningful 1:1’s, virtual team lunches, and other similar meetings are events are simple ways to forge and maintain authentic connections with your team.
Focusing on Working Hours
- One of the reasons why people choose to work remotely is in the flexibility it offers for the working day. When leading virtual teams, we should shift our focus to outcomes rather than hours worked. Micromanaging a team will create distrust, cause creativity and productivity to decrease, and will cause team members to become disengaged. Providing flexibility while implementing accountability will allow a virtual team to thrive.
Overlooking the Personal and Professional Development of your Remote Team
- Virtual team leaders need to invest time and dedication into the development of your virtual team, just as we did when in a face to face environment. Utilizing coaching skills and training to support high-potential talent will fuel performance. Your team members will appreciate the opportunities for development, become more engaged, and are much more likely to stay with the team.
Failing to Communicate
- Communication really is one of the cornerstones of virtual work. We often underestimate how much we should communicate with a virtual team. In a virtual environment, we must have regular scheduled touchpoints, weekly team members, and check- ins to ensure priorities are aligned for the team. We simply cannot rely on email for everything. Poor communication when leading virtual teams just cannot happen.
Not Setting the Standard for your Team
- This is perhaps the biggest mistake you can make when managing remote teams. Do you tell your team showing up to virtual meetings on time is a must—but then show up 10 minutes late? Do you say that it’s important for everyone to respect the team’s work/life balance—but then shoot off emails to your team all weekend? If you want your remote team to thrive, sending those kinds of mixed messages just isn’t going to fly. Your team is going to look to you to set the standard for what’s acceptable—and what’s not acceptable—within your organization. So it’s important to embody the values that you want to inspire within your team.