Trust is essential to the productivity and success of every business team – especially when at least some members work virtually. And yet, when you can’t work side-by-side or look your colleagues in the eye, that trust is hard to come by.
Especially for virtual managers.
A 2016 survey shows that a whopping 58% of virtual team employees feel that their team lead is not adequately prepared to manage their team in the virtual environment.
What’s more, they may not be wrong – 66% of experienced managers fail in their first attempt to run a virtual team, and brand-new managers fare even worse.
A need for virtual team training
Globally, 85% of employees report working on virtual teams. At the same time, only 22% have received any training geared toward working in that environment. This disparity suggests that many of the people working virtually do not know how to do so effectively, which can lead to dysfunction including:
- Low individual commitment
- Role overload and ambiguity
- Absenteeism and attrition
- Feelings of disengagement and isolation
Virtual team solutions
Virtual Team Builders is the leader in virtual team success. Since its inception 30 years ago, Virtual Team Builders has assisted over 200 private and public-sector organizations worldwide to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of their virtual teams.
Take our one-minute Virtual Team Success Survey and receive a FREE 30-minute consultation with one of our virtual team experts!
Virtual teams are great for flexible scheduling, working on the go, and staying in touch when not in the same room – and yet, virtual managers must navigate certain risks to productivity.
Even though virtual teams come with many benefits, working alone is difficult for many employees:
- 42% of virtual team members feel frustrated and overwhelmed by virtual collaboration and communication technologies
- 34% of virtual teams believe remote team members don’t do their share of the work, leading to conflict
- 85% of employees report working in a virtual environment at least some of the time, yet only 22% have received training in how to do so effectively
What’s missing is the human touch – strategies to build relationships and trust between team members, so they feel confident in their own work and in each other. Two top techniques for virtual managers to build productive virtual teams are:
Between Managers and Staff
Hold regular, high-touch conversations with each team member, sending the message that you are taking an interest in their progress and value their individual contribution.
Consider the following four questions to help you open up the dialogue.
- What can I do to help/ support you in this?
- What am I already doing that is helping or hindering your progress?
- What other support/ resources do you need to get this done?
- What’s the one question I could ask you now that would really make a difference?
Between Team Members
Team meetings are more than a chance to discuss a particular project – start them off with an opportunity for your staff to share a success they are proud of, a challenge they would like assistance with or a resource they came across that can help their team. A few minutes of unstructured conversation goes a long way towards building authentic relationships, creating a positive atmosphere that drives productivity.
Want to get more out of your virtual team? Work with a virtual mentor! Virtual Team Builders provides customized, flexible mentoring services are tailored to provide personal, targeted strategies to team leads and managers in or transitioning to the virtual environment. Find out more.