No matter the structure of your team, no matter the challenge your team is working on, and no matter the proximity (or lack thereof) of its members, there are three ingredients all successful teams have in common:
- They are all made up of human beings
- Human beings perform better with great leadership (although not necessarily the traditional top-down kind).
- Great team leaders foster meaningful connection among the members of the team.
Teams thrive on collaboration made up of meaningful connection with one another, and individual team members will perform better when they feel like they’re all in it together. You need to connect your team members to one another on a personal level. So, if you find yourself leading (or being expected to lead) a virtual team, your primary job is to go out of your way to facilitate the very interpersonal connection that remoteness tends to inhibit.
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And while nothing encourages trust and connection better than good old locked-in-the-same-room, face-to-face, oxygen-sharing meetings and social time, assume that you’ll never have that luxury with your virtual team. Even though it is, arguably, easier to lead a team that lives under the same roof, that’s a rarity these days. The good news is you can still get your team to know, trust and commit to each other by using virtual collaboration tools like web conferencing and social workspaces to enjoy face-to-face conversations and continuous collaboration.
Connection is all about conversation, and, as the team lead, you’re in charge of making sure those conversations happen.
So, what do you think? What conversations do you need to have with your team to get them connected, on the same page, and ready to work together across time and distance?
I’ll share my top 3 conversations soon.