Those on a virtual team need accountability even more than those sharing office space. Nowadays, 64% of organizations surveyed say that, thanks to the coronavirus crisis, their teams are now virtual (Meluso et al., 2020). How does that impact team leaders?
As we’ve learned, leading a virtual team to success is different from one where team members spend the workday together face-to-face. Any team, though, needs these three essential elements from its leader: motivation, communication, and training. Virtual teams, however, need to be accountable. Let’s take a look at how accountability must be paired with each of those for a virtual team to succeed.
Motivation + Accountability
President Theodore Roosevelt said it best years ago, “Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” That’s where you fit in. Each of your team members has skills and talents that you’ll want to tap into. Spend time with each, finding out how things are going. Even dare to ask if they’re happy with what they are doing and how well they are doing it. One study found that 28% of their remote workers suffer from burnout and feeling disconnected on the job (GitLab, 2020).
More important than that, people need to know what they are supposed to do. A job description is a checklist of specific tasks and responsibilities, but go beyond that. Create a structure and a plan for those on your team. Indicate why each task on that list is essential for the success of the whole team.
When someone is well-placed on a team, you can inspire them to do their best work by providing feedback. An annual review can be intimidating for both leaders and team members. Instead, when you provide feedback along the way, your people will strive to do better today than yesterday and even better tomorrow.
Here’s a concern, though: How can you ensure that everyone on the team feels connected and essential to the team?
Communication + Accountability
Good virtual teammates embrace communication. For instance, one study shows that these folks share information (19%) collaborate (18%), engage with others proactively (17%), and are well-organized (14%) (CultureWizard, 2018).
Remember that virtual team members are out there somewhere working on their own. That’s why it’s essential for you to be in touch. It’s not like being in the office together, meeting in the hallway or talking on the elevator. Because of that, a virtual leader must be sure to create time each week to reach out and catch up with team members individually and as a group.
Individually, folks need to feel as though they are part of the team’s success. One way to encourage that sense is to ask each member to provide a daily list of what’s going on, of what their tasks are. Read those. They may need some adjustment or explanation or other details. New team members may need more guidance than that, and that’s when it may be critical to create that list for them.
As for the team, it’s essential that everyone knows how his or her success fits in the scheme of things. Having a group huddle daily or weekly gives that sense to them. That’s when you can make announcements, highlight upcoming events, and call on various team members to give updates. People on your team want to know what’s going on and what their colleagues are working on. These meetings give you all a chance to catch up with the moving parts connecting together to meet the team’s goals.
Here’s a concern, though: How can you get the quick attention of those on your team?
Training + Accountability
Nowadays, close to 70% of the organizations polled offer mobile learning (SkillScouter, 2021). Let’s face it, each person on your team needs training in order to be successful. They joined your team with specific education and experience, and that’s why you brought them on board. Now, though, they need to learn how to apply what they know to what your team does.
Virtual training takes some adjustment, but leaders now find that there are distinct advantages.
For one thing, you and your team might be located all over the map. With virtual training, leaders and teams can be all over the world. Gone are the expensive trips to a training event with jet-lagged participants crossing oceans and time zones. They can all stay at home and go through training at their own pace and at their own time. Leaders can also work from a home office, recording these training sessions without an expensive sound studio or Hollywood cameras.
Here’s a concern, though: How do you know if a team member has completed the training?
Vital Resource for Virtual Leaders
The success of your virtual team is up to you. All three of your concerns regarding motivation, communication, and training have an easy fix. For instance, keep your team up-to-date and in the know by providing new material and vital resources for them. Contact those on your team with quick messages with announcements and links that they’ll see right away. Lastly, keep track of who has completed which training at a glance from your phone. Easy-peasy.
What? How? There’s a breakthrough app on the market that you can call your own. We’ll create it for you with the brand of your business, your logo, and even your team’s colors. Business Glu makes it easy for you to upload new materials and resources on your computer, send out a push notification to your team to know about them, and then keep track of who has completed what.
With a Business Glu app, your virtual team will be even more successful. Better yet, with you and your team using your app, you can focus on motivation, communication, and training without any concerns. Go for it!