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Managing Virtual Teams

by Bare Brilliance

More and more organisations are working across geographically disperse locations and with flexible work practices. Project teams working from a number of sites and home-based workers all add to the complexity of managing teams and delivering results. These challenges and the flexibility required all lead to a different skill set for the Leader and a different approach to managing daily activities, managing conflict and motivating teams.

One of my Clients, a large Australian Financial Insitution,  has recently approached me to look for a solution that will help his leaders be more effective in their new environment.  This organisation is currently managing a significant part of the business offshore with key functional areas in Manila and Bangalore. Project team members are now based in Sydney, Melbourne, Bangalore and Manila which the team is finding challenging both in communicating and achieving deliverables. Having worked with our client for a number of years he turned to me to look for a solution to the current issues they are facing and to identify a way to share with his team new approaches and strategies for managing remotely.

Our Facilitator , using a very hands-on approach, enabled the team to explore the constraints assoicated with virtual management. Different tools and technologies were shared to offer practical and effective management of these teams. Feedback on this solution has been extremely positive with 2 of the online tools being implemented already and more interaction on key project deliverables. The tools have opened up the communication channels and allowed the team to work together more effectively.

If you find yourself in a position where you are managing teams virtually here are some things for you to consider:

  • Communication approach: how do you open up the communication lines so that people in all locations feel connected and involved. If someone is in a different country what culturally specific techniques need to be considered. If a team member is working from home or another ‘remote’ location how often and when is best to communicate
  • Team Building: face to face team building often provides your team with ways to get to know each other and develop strong bonds. What are the ways to develop the team if a face to face option is not available
  • Sharing ideas: creating a buddy system or using an online resource such as a ‘wiki’ can often help the sharing and fostering of ideas across a virtual team
  • Project Management and deliverables: How do you ensure that people who are working virtually are aware of the project status and any changes. Is there a tool in place to make sure that the information is accurate
  • What strategies do you put in place for building trust
  • What technology can you use to make life easier for you and your team

Contact us at The Learning Factor today to find out more about solutions that can support your virtual team. Click on this program outline to find out more about our Managing Remote Teams program: