Author Aditi A Kashyap
As we deal with the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, leaders are required to develop a new set of leadership skills, with no training on best practices to lead a team virtually. Leaders need more information on how virtual teams are structured and how to manage it better. Personal contact by the side of the water cooler or in the break rooms with the reportee seems like a thing of the past. Interactions, even informal ones, are now planned. Managers who once used to observe a team member's work behaviors on the floor now have to have a high level of trust in the team member's work habits virtually.
If you are a manager wondering how best to manage your team virtually, we offer you some best practices you can follow.
5 WAYS TO LEAD TEAMS VIRTUALLY
When working physically, teams were accustomed to synchronous work and standardization enabled by the same work schedules and conditions. In a quarantined environment, each one has their work schedules and ways of working. As a manager, you need to reset expectations on how work gets done and give more autonomy when and how somebody should accomplish tasks. This means offering more flexibility in the accomplishment of results. Trust in the team member’s ability to accomplish results is key.
Make sure a few work hours overlap.
Your team members may be operating in different time zones or have the time schedules that they work. Setup 3-4 hours every day as a recommended time where everyone is online at the same time. Being online at the same time will enable team members to communicate better with each other, will bring the team closer, and will facilitate better problem-solving.
Conduct a weekly reflection exercise
Come up with innovative ways of bringing your team closer. Create a virtual whiteboard and ask team members to speak about the one good thing they accomplished during the week and the value they displayed in carrying out the task. Additionally, ask them to talk about, appreciate, or thank a team member who helped them with work. You can also think of adding fun tasks to this list, such as – "Where is that one place you'd like to go after the pandemic is over?". Such reflection exercises will reduce the virtual distance.
Reach out personally
As a leader, you will be juggling between managing the tasks of multiple team members. Ensure that you give focused attention to each team member by frequently reaching out to them personally. According to research by Deloitte, virtual distance can lower your team member's trust by 83%, the ability to innovate by 93%, and engagement by 80%. To counter this distance, you need to make yourself available. Guide them through tasks and ask them if they are facing any challenges. Connect on video calls and listen attentively. Be present. Ask them about how their life is going on and establish a subtle personal connection.
Encourage peer learning
The new normal has opened up tremendous opportunities for virtual learning. Use this time to encourage your team to take up new courses that would help them upskill. If your organization has a learning wallet, enable the team to use the same. Ask team members to present their key learnings from the course. Additionally, foster an environment of learning wherein team members conduct workshops on crucial skills that would benefit the larger group.
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To conclude, time is a valuable resource, and in a time like this where we are dealing with a gamut of changes, it becomes all the more vital to spend time on things that matter.
What are some best practices that you employ to manage time better? Please share with us in the comments below!
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Published by: Anand Udapudi in Blog