Managing virtual teams is in many aspects similar to local team leadership. However, your leadership style needs to be adapted to fit into the rules of digital organizations. You need to deal with geographical, cultural, and language constraints. Tools will be different. Video communication is unlike face-to-face chats. Although it is unlikely that you will still be leading virtual teams past this century, you still need to set your virtual leadership skills on solid ground and adopt management principles that have always worked and will always work.

managing virtual teams: Pins connected on a map of Europe
Image by TheAndrasBarta from Pixabay

Top 6 High-Performance Hacks for Managing Virtual Teams

Unless you are used to doing things remotely, you will make many mistakes with virtual teams. 

For example, managers often engage in too many meetings. Despite the advantages of an established routine and less stress in the work environment, managing remote teams on Zoom will leave you just tiny bits of personal time you can dedicate to essential work. If you want to invest most of your best skills to the most crucial tasks in your managerial role, you need to prioritize and set firm basic rules that wil take you through the fast-changing pace of the next several decades.

1. Clarity 

Clarity is the absence of noise. You need to set up a clear matrix of roles and relationships on your team. Everyone must be clear about where they fit into the hierarchical structure, what is expected from them, and what pathways they should use to get there. The clarity of role results in role commitment. You can achieve clarity with explicit information and agreements in relationships. 

managing virtual teams: relationships represented with plastic figures
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

2. Collaboration in the cloud

Use cloud tools instead of an office when managing virtual teams. Cloud tools solve the location problem of remote teams as they provide a joint space, a digital office. When you work in the cloud, separate focus time from communication time. Focus time is personal time. Communication time is ‘together’ time. 

3. Structured communication

By just chatting endlessly without identifying the problem, you create noise in the place of clarity. To give structure to communication, you must understand what is the problem that needs to be solved and communicate it concisely to gain clarity. 

managing virtual teams connected in the cloud
Image by Gerd Altmann from Pixabay

4. Asynchronous communication

You have to get used to communicating asynchronously. Different time zones, personal time, and role commitment will hinder synchronous communication. Use chat and video recording as a replacement for mutual meetings. Make sure you provide just the right level of context to help the person understand what’s the issue you need to communicate, not more, and not less.

5. Transparency

Transparency is one of the key principles of working for Bright Solutions and Flash Hub.

Instead of walking around to manage your team, manage your virtual team by results. Provided you have established clarity, structured communication, and cloud collaboration tools, it will be simple to create transparency by using tools to track progress for individual and team goals. For example, we use OKRs (Objectives and Key Results) for transparent virtual team leadership. 

If you want to know more about setting and tracking OKRs For Leading High-Performing Remote Teams, listen to Manuell Pistner explaining the process in Flash Hub in the video below:

6. Leadership system

A decisively set virtual leadership system is based on the principles above. You will create your virtual team leadership skills and principles by setting measurable goals and principles. Instead of managing virtual teams by relying on feelings, you will have a strong skeleton on which you will lead. Furthermore, you won’t confuse your team members who get a numerical picture of the answer to the question: “What does my boss want?”

Find answers about leading from anywhere on Episode 31, Season 2 of the Virtual Frontier Podcast below!

Effective Virtual Team Management 

To further tweak your leadership skills for the 21st century, engage your team in improving data literacy. By understanding data, your team will create a new transformational language for the future. 

Look at these five behavioral science lessons for leading virtual teams to remember that:

  • Truth is worth paying attention to
  • Creative brainstorming is not entirely out of the question
  • Confirmation bias in virtual teams may increase 
  • How you manage matters

Adjust your expectations at first, but don’t fall short later in time. Virtual teams can outperform conventional teams if you are managing the building blocks of your organization by applying these six basic high-performance hacks. 

At Flash Hub, everyone benefits from a clear structure, transparency, and effective communication.

We use almost 100 cloud collaboration tools to communicate. If you want to know how to find the right technology for your project, reach out to get your free consultation!


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