In order for virtual teams to succeed, organizational leadership must establish a culture that values teamwork, communication, learning and capitalizing on geographical and functional diversity. The key to developing an organizational culture that supports virtual teams is that everyone across the organization is encouraged and enabled to embrace change and be open to virtual teams right from the start. This begins with senior leadership support and sponsorship – without it, virtual teams are DOA (Dead on Arrival). It is critical that virtual teams are positioned at the highest levels as vital, value-add resources that provide sustainable competitive advantage for the corporation.
From an organizational perspective, you may want to consider four aspects of leadership that are known to positively impact virtual team performance:
- Facilitating open communications
- Establishing clear expectations
- Allocating resources
- Leveraging cultural diversity
Not so different from co-located teams, but considerably more complex in virtual environments. In order to be successful, you will need to have the drive to get things done and impact organizational change.
Not everyone can be a successful virtual team leader. It is a complicated role that involves managing learning and development, cross-cultural interactions and team dynamics (just a few of the intricacies involved in leading teams across boundaries and borders). There are very specific skills and competencies that are vital to engaging this level of complexity. Although there are many important components that will impact your ability to lead successful virtual teams – systems thinking, emotional intelligence and cultural intelligence… just to name a few – there are three qualities that are essential to virtual team leadership: courage, openness and empathy.Continue Reading…