Virtual teams may be shaking up organizational dynamics, but the fundamentals of how to lead a team are the same whether its members are all based in the same building as you or scattered across four continents.
Choices don’t have to be binary. So embracing webinars and virtual meetings doesn’t mean you’ll never get together in person again. Nor does opting for a face-to-face meeting mean you have to turn your back on the wonders of technology.
Most of what we hear about leadership is about leading people who work for us or with us. But what do you do when the people most in need of coaching and guidance outrank you? How do you do that in a way that ensures you will still have a job?
Video conferences and webmeetings often feel like a bit of a train wreck. And that’s because they often get off to such a bad start. There are at least five things that can derail virtual meetings before they’ve even begun: here’s what they are and how to avoid them.
Many project managers forget that at the end of the day, every single milestone and box on their Gantt chart depends on people. So project managers who can’t manage people are in for a long, tough haul.
Enjoying work means not being completely miserable, especially with the other human beings on your team. Which is why meetings can actually be fun - as long as you don't confuse 'fun' with 'fluff'.
We all complain about how much time we waste in meetings. But some meetings do have a point and there are lots of good reasons to have one. Equally, though, there are some compelling reasons not to.
Don't take this the wrong way, but how do you feel about the members of your team? Do you like them? All of them? Now, let's take it further. Do you love them?
There's no doubt that leading a remote team is different to working with people in the same office. But for a competent team leader, the differences aren't as great as you might think.
It's one of the great unanswered questions of the workplace. If the main purpose of our having a job is to get work done and the meetings aren't part of that work, why do we have so many of them?
Maybe I'm getting a little obsessed, but I can't help noticing the similarities between corporate politics and "Game of Thrones ". I even came up with a name for it. So how well do you play the "Game of Cubicles"?
Technology is often used as an excuse for the poor management of remote teams. While it can certainly be a barrier, understanding team dynamics and offering training and resources can eliminate most of these. That just leaves the excuses.
Many people suffer from an irrational fear of running a webinar or remote meeting. Since this is a very real barrier to team success, its worth exploring what it is that people are afraid of – and how to get over these fears.
Working remotely, we just don't get any of those tell-tale non-verbal signals we see in a meeting room - the furtive looks, the eye contact or the nodding heads. That's why asking open questions is one of the most critical skills a manager of a remote team can possess.
The demands of leading a team who don't share a common location or time zone are an order of magnitude more difficult than if they are in the same building. That calls for additional leadership skills on top of those normally needed.
The reasons people become disengaged are numerous and infuriatingly complex. But there are some simple ways to pre-empt this that are particularly useful when you're team isn't in the same place at the same time.