The biggest challenge as a virtual team leader, is to earn the respect and trust of each and every virtual team member, without them having met you physically. So how do you earn that respect and trust, without the traditional interactions? What can you do that can improve your “presence” with them, and make them feel your engagement in their everyday work, and as you deliver the goals of your team / organization collectively?
Here are some tips to building a strong virtual team – one that thrives while operating from all corners of the globe
- Engage in fun and rewarding activities together. Yes, you can absolutely do that even with a virtual team. Set goals and achieve them together, even if you are in different timezones and continents. For example, if your team (yourself included) are on the heavier side, for the health of your team, set weight loss milestones together, and work towards them together. Exchange diet tips and muscle ache complaints amidst work discussions.
- Arrange regular virtual team building games to bond and create common memories. Not all games need to be played with physical contact. There are whole bunch of fun games that can be done both in person and virtually. Check out our blog post for a full list of fun virtual team building games.
- Build your virtual communication skills. Provide your team with the right tools so they can meet and collaborate online. With the number of tools emerging, communication should not be the limiting factor in your team’s productivity. Invest time to find the tools most suitable to your needs, be it in calling and managing team tasks. Read more about the must-have tools to virtual communication here. For new remote team members, make sure you orientate them well right from day 1. It is a completely different work culture from being in a shared physical office, so be proactive in guiding your new team member. Read our step by step guide for on boarding new remote team members.
- Provide resources that can help your virtual team set milestones together, make decisions together, and solve problems together. I cannot emphasize enough about resources and tools. In addition to all the tools listed above, have specific tools to facilitate live discussions, so the team can still continue to make decisions and solve problems remotely. Discussion tools include Syncpad and Scribblar for online whiteboard collaboration; Teamviewer to ensure everyone is using the same mouse and looking at the same screen; ChannelMe to browse the same websites simultaneously.