Successful teams – including virtual teams – all tend to display the same key characteristic: resilience. A resilient team is one that adapts to the challenges of an ever-changing business environment, overcoming setbacks and finding ways to thrive.
Virtual teams stand apart from traditional co-located ones in that geographic distance between virtual colleagues can intensify the impact of setbacks and lengthen the amount of time it takes to recover. Further, this distance can also make it easier for virtual team leads to missing crucial signs that your team lacks resilience. By the time it becomes obvious, the damage to team productivity and morale may be severe. With the right strategies in place, however, virtual teams can work together effectively and thrive when challenges arise.
So for virtual teams, what does resilience look like?
Resilient Virtual Teams Are:
- Safe Research shows that teams with good, trusting relationships report a higher number of errors than those with less trusting, low-quality relationships. Resilient virtual teams operate in a way that empowers each member to take risks, present new ideas, and identify lessons learned without fear of judgment. By placing the focus on workflow, objective facts and the building of trusted relationships rather than personal culpability, you create a safe environment for everyone to identify, discuss and resolve setbacks and return to productivity in a connected, rational and efficient manner.
- Informed Virtual managers should establish mechanisms to ensure that company updates, are shared on a regular basis. Where teams have a mix of co-located and virtual members, make sure that everyone receives information at the same time. All too often, virtual employees are looped in as an afterthought, reinforcing feelings of isolation and resentment and creating us vs. them mentality that undermines trust and resilience
- Proactive Resilient teams do not sit idly by when they identify an issue – they address and resolve them immediately. This is especially important in the virtual environment where a lack of face-to-face communication can make colleagues feel isolated and disconnected, heightening the impact of perceived problems. Virtual managers who make a point of identifying and resolving issues in cooperation with their team build trust and goodwill, two essential components of resilience.
Contact us to learn more about building resilience in your virtual team, setting your organization up for long-term, sustainable success!
You can read the updated version of the article here at Three Characteristics of Resilience in Virtual Teams