11 Tips for Managing Virtual Teams
The first thing to know is that, when building a virtual team, you have to search for different qualifications than you otherwise might. Employees must be more mature (in terms of work habits) and independent. Those that have to be micromanaged or are weak on problem-solving tend to flounder in this kind of environment.
But even if you have the best team members with all of the right traits and experience, a virtual team poses numerous challenges. Although you might have overseen outside agencies, technology providers and other companies, this is a different relationship. With internal personnel, you have the added challenge of building teamwork and enhancing employee satisfaction. If you don't take proactive measures, your department will be a revolving door with people leaving faster than you can hire and train them.
With that in mind, here are few lessons I've learned that may help you oversee your virtual teams effectively, as well as improve relationships with employees right in your office.
1. Build teamwork.
This seems pretty obvious, but I'm not talking about teamwork with you, but between your direct reports. It is important to have individual conversations to answer questions and provide feedback, but team members also need to come together (at least once per week, in my opinion) so they can hear what everyone else is doing. This allows people to feel like they are part of a group, even if they have different activities. When there are dependencies, this is a good way to establish and agree on priorities. A fresh set of eyes generates suggestions for solutions and new ideas. Another benefit is that team members start to work directly together versus using the supervisor as a conduit—saving time and improving output.