Five Tips to Master Virtual Leadership
Being a good leader in the workplace is challenging, but managing remote workers adds a whole new set of difficulties. COVID-19 accelerated the trend towards remote and hybrid work situations – and it looks like regular collaboration with remote teammates is here to stay. In fact, Gartner reports that 74% of companies plan to shift some, if not all, of their employees to working remotely permanently rather than return back to the office after COVID-19. Here are five key tips to help you successfully manage remote teams and master virtual leadership.
- Set expectations and goals.
Working remotely allows teams to have greater flexibility with their work schedules. When your team is not physically in the same location, it’s important to set clear expectations and goals. Communicating realistic expectations from the start fosters trust and understanding in your virtual team and helps lead to a stronger, more productive workforce.
- Stay in communication.
A strong virtual leader needs to be proactive about staying in contact with the entire team. Understanding what team members are working on, how projects are going, and what obstacles employees are facing will help ensure that teams stay connected and on task. This could take any number of forms, such as setting up weekly calls, having frequent team meetings, or regular status updates via email.
- Be clear and concise in communications.
Because leaders cannot physically see team members, it may be difficult to pick up on social cues like expressions or body language. Utilize video chat functions to maintain some face-to-face interaction, and be very precise when giving assignments, setting deadlines, or providing constructive feedback. Establishing precise communication with your team and holding productive virtual meetings can be easy as long as you set an agenda, manage expectations, and confirm understanding.
- Hold meetings only when necessary.
There’s nothing worse than participating in a meeting that could’ve been an email. Take a moment to evaluate the goals of each meeting and make sure it’s a valuable use of everyone’s time. Ask yourself the following questions to help evaluate if a meeting is necessary: does the meeting have a clear goal, is the matter urgent/time-sensitive, are we meeting about a project that has not been discussed or kicked off yet, and is this the most valuable use of everyone’s time.
- Be transparent and accessible.
Our work culture continues to evolve. Remember to update employees on any changes being introduced in the company, so that everyone has a clear understanding of the company’s goals and can align them with individual work strategies. And finally, let your team know that you’re available to talk and support them, whenever they need.
Virtual leadership strategies are challenging skills that can take time to master, but if you’re open to implementing new strategies you can grow to foster an empathetic and efficient remote team.
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