3 Keys to Effective Virtual Leadership

Leadership is never a smooth route. There are even more complexities when you bring a virtual setting into the equation. 

When you need to effectively handle an entirely online team, an effective leader’s characteristics are put more squarely into focus. There’s no such thing as “walking around management,” or any of those types of leadership that thrive from working in an office.

Although, in all situations, the fundamental principles of leadership necessarily apply, virtual leadership scenarios present specific and critical hurdles. Three keys to effective virtual leadership are given below.

3 Keys to Effective Virtual Leadership

Learn How to Connect

Unite your group around a shared sense of mission and specific objectives. For their virtual teams, leaders need to build a shared identity and understanding. Without it, virtual team members are particularly vulnerable to “us versus them” mentality and the dangers of insufficient information.

In virtual teams, you can not create silos–when employees begin working against each other or lose track of organizational objectives. A successful virtual leader needs to be a connector and the glue between the team.

One of the things that a good leader can do to foster that teamwork is to look for ways to bond as a virtual team. You can’t typically do a team-building exercise in person, but you can establish “norms” that are part of the group’s tradition.

First off, what if they all met on Fridays for virtual coffee dates? You can do several stuff, but you’ll have to arrange those tasks for a remote environment.

Show Your Support

Virtual leaders must recognize that operating in a virtual world can be “miserable” at times for team members. They do not have the passion and enthusiasm gained by working with other team members in an office. 

As a virtual leader, learning how team members are doing emotionally would be very necessary. Share the support you have. The work that team members perform is another type of help that will be essential.

Team members need to know that just because they are not physically located in the same location as their colleagues and boss, support is always available from virtual leadership or even other team members if they need it.

Leadership is about more than just performance management, and even when you’re all together in the same room, much less dispersed who-knows-where, it’s hard to do. If virtual teams become more and more common, the emphasis will also increase on successful virtual leadership.

3 Keys to Effective Virtual Leadership

Improve Technical Knowledge

If there is one element that can hinder the success of virtual teams, it would have to trudge on finding out the resources and technologies you will use to support your tasks. Use the resources you already have, be it a chat platform or a sharing site for documents. 

When you think about in-house teams, new hires seem to have all the resources they need to do their work from day one. For virtual teams, this should also apply.

It is vital that you know and have in-place core systems, especially communication, project management, and any special tools that directly assist in getting the job done. The virtual world operates on technology, so a good leader must grasp it.

Bottom Line

As leaders switch from traditional to virtual teams, many of their qualities and abilities that have made them good leaders will be changed, but it is vital to examine how the distances separating leaders and team members will change their management style. 

The more efficient leaders are at heading virtual teams, the more virtual teams can take full advantage of the many opportunities they bring to an organization. 

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