The COVID-19 pandemic induced work from home situation has dramatically changed the way businesses work worldwide. The most daunting situation is faced by all the leaders in such cases. The shift from daily physical interaction to leading virtual teams surely needs some getting used to. Some companies have actually given permanent work home from to all their employees.
So what is different about leading a virtual team compared to a daily physical interaction with your colleagues? The main thing is that the personal bond is missing. All interactions and meetings are planned. Spontaneity is almost non-existent, which makes it more difficult for leaders to gauge their colleagues vibe or mood or how they feel about a certain thing. Another important thing that has changed is the accountability factor with all leaders having to rely upon online login systems to measure productivity & having to trust their subordinates somewhat blindly. This may affect communication & in turn hampers productivity as well. Your VUCA leadership will define the tenacity of your organization.
Virtual leadership requires a certain amount of comfort with technology & knowledge of video based applications like Zoom & Skype& a general comfort level regarding video conferencing. If the reporting officer or the subordinate is inclined not to share progress or is not an efficient communicator, it poses a big challenge to the person in charge to make sure things are running smoothly. Being proficient in written as well as oral communication is a big bonus.
Here are a few useful tips on how to lead your team virtually:
Able leaders lead by example & establish a trusted channel of communication with their subordinates. Giving your full attention to your colleagues while on call is highly important as it shows your colleagues you care about what they are communicating.
A good leader always makes his team comfortable about constructive criticism. It is essential to create a healthy & safe environment of trust for your colleagues. This makes them comfortable & improves overall productivity.
Clarity of thought
One more thing a leader needs to do while leading virtually is to make sure his colleagues have crystal clarity about the team strategy & that they have been informed of the same beforehand. This helps in avoiding confusion & improves the quality of work.
If your colleagues working from a remote location have the confidence that you’re taking note of their contributions & are advocating their abilities to the higher-ups, it motivates them to work harder which in turn boosts the productivity of the organization.Always be an encouraging leader to your team. It helps build trust & efficiency.
To conclude, with the pandemic being a sad reality at-least for the next couple of years, it is important to adapt yourself to leading a virtual team & still excel at an organizational level.