One of the best features of virtual teams is that they allow us to reach beyond our established working groups to make new, valuable connections. Leaders can play a role in encouraging teams to reach beyond their immediate networks. Take a look our tips below
1 Fine-tuning top-down communications
Top-down communications is not necessarily a bad thing. In fact, it is a critical step to help teams stay on track. However, in remote teams, this approach can result in employees feeling that decisions are being imposed on them, leading to push back or detachment.
According to a Financial Times article, managers need to encourage connection by opening alternative communication channels. This approach will bring a greater sense of togetherness within their teams and the organisation.
2 The value of one-on-ones
One-on-ones mean checking employee engagement levels and making sure teams are aligned. However, one-on-ones may also offer an opportunity for leaders to identify future problems or bottlenecks. If a team member is struggling, leaders may assign a project “buddy” to help lessen the workload or resolve the issue. Initiating collaboration across teams and departments will encourage employees jumpstart new connections.
3 Experiment with communication “bursts”
A recent article from Entrepreneur mentions six ways leaders are failing to communicate with their remote teams. The article explains that rigid or overwhelming back-to-back phone calls, meetings, texts, and emails do not “replace” face-to-face contact. Instead, this approach backfires and leads to staff burnout. An October 2020 HBR piece talks about communication “bursts” and how successful remote teams operate in bursts of rapid-fire communications, followed by more extended periods of silence for teams to work. Healthy communication patterns enable employees to connect with others without burning out.
4 Check the pulse
It is essential to tap into your team’s “emotional landscape” to keep a pulse on motivation and engagement levels. If energy is low, leaders should intervene and support employees by connecting them with others in team-building or morale-boosting activities.
5 Be a cheerleader
Leaders can be a resource for in communicating company opportunities, educational workshops, professional classes, career development and other valuable information to encourage employee growth. This approach helps support and challenge team members out of their comfort zones.