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Leading Virtual Teams

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Center for Professional Development

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Amid the COVID-19 crisis, working virtually has quickly become today’s “normal.” However, as creatures of habit, employees quickly try to “settle in” to working from home and recreate what they know from the traditional office environment.

Remote work fundamentally changes the relationship people have with their teammates and employers, providing an opportunity to recreate and improve our processes in order to thrive in the virtual workplace. This new normal provides leaders with opportunities to empower their teams to higher levels of performance, collaboration, and action.

Here are five tips for leading virtual teams:

  1. Negotiate, document, and follow team agreements and communication infrastructure when working virtually.
  2. Connect on purpose regularly 1:1 and with the team about task and team dynamics, ensuring everyone has what they need, are working on track, and aren’t isolated.
  3. Take extra time to expand emotional bandwidth with personal and non-work conversations. Give each other virtual tours of your home offices or meet end of week for a virtual happy hour and celebration.
  4. Watch workflows and processes that may not work as well when everyone is suddenly working virtually, and work as a team to improve work processes or remap them while everyone is working at home.
  5. Use task management and project management tools to help manage the work and the team, and help the team stay current and informed about the work and teammates.