The shape of organizations worldwide is changing. Virtual (or dispersed) teams are almost more common than not these days. In fact, according to the 2013 Global Workplace Analytics survey, between 2005 and 2013, the number of employees who worked virtually grew by 80 percent.
One action successful leaders take to lead successful teams–no matter how far flung–is creating context:
Context is the foundation from which we derive meaning from what other people say. In the past, members of a team would see each other every day, know what was going on in each other’s personal and professional lives, and be aware of each other’s thoughts on happenings large and small. In today’s virtual or dispersed environment–not so much. Often, team members are essentially strangers to one another and may feel disconnected from the overall team or company vision.
So leaders need to help individuals and teams in the virtual work force see the reason why they need to care about the project and their part in it. They need to be sure to voice the overall vision and share the company, team, and individual goals. They need to be explicit about why the team is working together and how it aligns with business goals.
Leaders need to pinpoint how each team member will collaborate and what’s in it for reach region, area, or individual. If the leader doesn’t know, they need to hold a conversation and ask their team members why this project is important to them. What benefit do they see to themselves and others? And, then they need to ensure needs and desires are being met.
To read the other two components that transform virtual teams, please click here.
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