Posts Tagged ‘virtual work teams’

20 Minute Manager Leading Virtual TeamsThe Harvard Business School Publishing Corporation title 20 Minute Manager: Leading Virtual Teams aims to help managers of remote groups succeed from afar. Virtual teams can present a unique set of challenges, including maintaining accountability from a distance and depending on technological means of communication, but these challenges can be overcome. Leaders of virtual teams can achieve success by ensuring that their teams have the right mix of skills and abilities for remote work, the right technological tools are in place, goals and processes are clearly defined and understood, and their employees remain engaged and accountable.

Leaders of virtual teams can overcome the unique challenges of remote workforces by employing six basic strategies:

1. Ensuring that their teams contain the right mix of skills and abilities. Team members must be able to communicate and collaborate effectively, be open to the use of technology, and possess the skills that are needed for success.

2. Assessing and fulfilling their teams’ technological needs. The success of virtual teams depends largely on the technology that they are given. Virtual team leaders must assess and implement the right tools to enable communication and the creation and sharing of content.

3. Clarifying goals, processes, and norms. Leaders of virtual teams must define common expectations, goals, processes, and norms to align the priorities of their teams.

4. Regulating the messages and communication channels that enable effective collaboration. Leaders must find ways to effectively share information through the appropriate channels. They must find the right balance of communication to avoid overburdening team members with information and undercommunicating their visions and objectives.

5. Keeping team members motivated, engaged, and accountable. Virtual team leaders must build rapport and trust among their teams and mobilize the social bonds that keep people engaged in and motivated about their work. They must also hold people to their commitments to prevent missed deadlines, poor results, and interpersonal conflicts.

6. Resolving conflict from afar. Leaders must manage conflict before it damages work relationships and creates toxic work environments. This can be achieved by practicing active listening, mediating, and encouraging transparency.

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20-minute-manager-running-virtual-meetingsFor managers and leaders, running effective virtual meetings–from conference calls to WebEx meetings–can come with an array of obstacles. Silences, interruptions, technical issues, and cultural differences can all add a degree of difficulty to hosting any kind of virtual meeting. 20 Minute Manager: Running Virtual Meetings from Harvard Business Review Press gives leaders the tools to choose the right channel for virtual meetings to take place, to prepare the materials necessary to keep participants meaningfully engaged, and to hold meeting members accountable for the meeting content, even from a distance.

Leading virtual meetings requires preparation, energy, focus, and discipline. A meeting leader can feel confident in executing the best virtual meeting possible by using the following guidelines presented by Harvard Business Review Press:

  • When planning a virtual meeting, it is important to decide whether or not the meeting is even necessary. The meeting leader must consider what is trying to be achieved, who the essential contributors to the meeting are, and whether everyone is ready to meet.
  • Successful virtual meetings are dependent on the technological tools used. If the right technology platform is not used to host the meeting, team members will be unwilling or unable to participate. A tech czar should be appointed to deal with any technology-related issues during the meeting so the leader can keep the meeting on track.
  • Prior to the meeting, information concerning the meeting process, protocols, etiquette, and roles for each participant should be clarified.
  • The leader must conduct the meeting in a smooth and controlled manner. The leader should be sure to log in early, test all technology, and facilitate the conversation with a calm and disciplined demeanor. Follow-up measures should be taken to avoid miscommunication.

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