The rise of virtual teams has gone from an outlier trend to a genuine and successful organisational structure. Big corporations as well as small independents are reaping the rewards of leveraging a remote, and often global, workforce. Technology has created huge opportunities for businesses to leverage skills and talent, wherever they may be.
But leading teams in a complex, remote, and global environment is no easy task. It involves skillsets and perspectives that many leaders may not have ever experienced.
The inherent organisational structure will undoubtably have an impact on how leadership teams need to structure themselves and how they function. For help getting the most out of leadership, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us here at Edgecumbe. From leadership assessment and development and executive coaching, to 360 feedback and engagement surveys, our expert team are here to help.
Leadership and virtual teams
Leadership and virtual teams present some potential hurdles.
How can you get the most out of a team that you might never meet face-to-face? How do you integrate different cultures and time zones into a project? How do you develop a company culture? How can you trust employees with high levels of autonomy?
We’ve put together a few simple tips for organisations looking to maximise their leadership within remote and virtual teams.
Leadership assessment and leadership team development
We recognise that the challenges an organisation faces cannot be tackled by one individual alone, or one “super leader.” Instead, success lies in the ability to combine talents, personalities, behaviours and skills from a variety of people and create effective leadership teams.
Successful leadership isn’t something that can have a “set and forget” approach – instead, it needs attention and strategy as well as constant review and evolution. Leadership assessment, executive coaching and leadership team development can all help in ensuring an organisation has the right people, in the right place, at the right time. Whether this is based on an organisational shift, such as integrating virtual workers into the team, or whether this is based on market challenges or new product launches, leadership teams that are adaptive are likely to do well.
Actively training and preparing leaders for things like virtual workers, as well as other workplace changes, is something that Boardrooms and executives should start to prioritise.
In the instance of virtual teams, it can be harder to track hours worked and more traditional employee metrics. Instead, many organisations that have successfully integrated virtual workers go for a much more “task” based model, in which workers have tasks to complete, and they have the autonomy and freedom to structure their day in a way that suits them (as long as the agreed tasks are completed).
This brings with it many benefits and can often mean teams become much more results focused, as opposed to “watching the clock.” Teams are designed around problems and objectives and measured on their input and effectiveness.
Communication, whether that’s video calls, phone calls, messenger apps, or email, the communication between team members is vital. Leadership teams need to ensure that although employees may be virtual and located around the world, effective communication is prioritised.
This enables teams to foster a culture with these virtual workers and ensure their needs are being met.
Listening to employees and their underlying motivators
The popularity and demand for remote working and virtual teams shouldn’t have caught organisations off guard if they were truly listening to their employees.
Workers will always be motivated by numerous factors – so leaders and organisations just need to understand what these factors are. For some people, money and status might be determining factors, but for others (particularly millennials), flexibility and autonomy can be the defining factors that impact workplace engagement and productivity.
Virtual working is an example of how organisations can adapt to what employees and the workplace may want, resulting in productive and effective teams.
Engagement surveys are a simple but powerful way for leadership teams to gain these types of insights that can drive smarter decisions about teams and employee motivators. This also means they can be on the cutting edge of any new trends and opportunities.
Learn more with Edgecumbe
The development of virtual teams is another example of how leadership teams need to embrace new ways of working and new potential challenges/opportunities in the workplace.
Succeeding in these new environments requires organisations to develop leaders that are equipped and prepared for such times.
If your organisation is looking to make the most out of quality leadership, simply get in touch with our expert team here at Edgecumbe. We can walk you through different ways we can help, and ensure you have the tools and support required to get started with developing powerful leadership teams.