Productive and successful teamwork and leadership in distributed teams and operations
Not only the business models in companies are changing rapidly, but also the daily work of each individual. Tools give us completely new possibilities. We can work more flexibly from anywhere and interact with each other at any time. This brings many advantages but also challenges in established structures.
In many companies more and more a kind of hybrid team constellation can be observed: team members and team leaders work together mixed onsite or virtually. In such teams strong communication is crucial. But simply implementing und using collaboration tools is not enough. I see this error of „tool focus“ in so many companies.
Virtual collaboration and leadership at a distance and in virtual team constellation require a special approach:
- Decisions must be made quickly, tasks must be delegated correctly – this becomes even more essential when working together at a distance than in teams on site
- there must be a clear commitment to complete tasks, trust gets essential
- each team member must know and be clear about his or her role
- you should develop a sense of togetherness – even in the absence of face-to-face contact
- you should find ways to counteract the feeling of isolation
- you should use appropriate methods for feedback and motivation
- team members must be able to solve problems themselves and work in a self-organized way
- with so many social collaboration tools to choose from, it’s important to select the right ones and use them properly
Managers and employees I talk to are looking for clarity and orientation of what to do. It is important to identify the first small and simple next step on the basis of the current company situation.
To build, run and manage a productive and successful virtual team you can do the following:
- create goals and common understanding in a team vision
- adapt the working environment for virtual collaboration
- ensure that all tools required in the team are available
- select tools correctly and introduce them according to the various collaboration scenarios
- establish a team agreement as a commitment and as a framework for virtual collaboration
- create transparency about roles and responsibilities
- make decisions and delegate tasks the right way
- give feedback, gratitude, and appreciation in a virtual form
- use methods to strengthen the team feeling at a distance
- organize and run online meetings efficiently