Nearly everything has changed with virtual leadership. Before the Pandemic, you could listen to your team around a conference table presenting reports, discussing issues, and providing status updates. As the leader, you had instant access to answers to questions you had and could continue informal discussions in the break room or at lunch. You kept current with projects and sales deals since you had immediate access to information.
How have things changed for you now that you manage a team that is no longer right there and ready? Has the virtual environment changed your leadership style? How comfortable are you now with your team’s availability, accountability, and reliability? Let’s take a look at each.
Virtual Leadership and Availability
It’s much more challenging to be available, no matter which side of the paycheck you’re on. As the leader, you may need a quick response. Perhaps it’s vital that you touch base with one of your team members to make a decision. It’s not like walking down the hallway to his or her office. Your call ends up in voicemail. You no longer have instant access to answers.
Team members may have the same frustrations. They’re right in the middle of a task and wonder if they are on target. You have your notifications turned off because you’re in the middle of a critical Zoom meeting. If you were both in the office, a leader and the team would have a better sense of what is going on and what everyone is doing.
Advice from the experts? Share the knowledge. Set up a common Web-based tool so that team members can report the status of their projects asynchronously. Leaders must be more proactive nowadays, scheduling more meetings for both the team and its individual members. Consider how that has changed your leadership style. Any ways you can improve your availability?
Virtual Leadership and Accountability
Some team members are just not as productive as others. That has always been the case. Different skills, different talents, different tasks. Before, when you were in the same building, you could easily check on those employees and see how much work they were actually doing. It’s more challenging now to know that for certain. When people are working from home, they have a new set of distractions, making it easier to slack off.
You certainly don’t have the time to monitor these folks, or any of your team members, for that matter. There’s only so much you can do.
Advice from the experts? Set reasonable goals together. Determine what needs to be done and by when. Once that is established with each team member, ask for daily reports. Members could provide status updates actively through email to you and to other relevant team members. Or, you could ask members to post those updates to a common website or dashboard where others could access and review them if relevant to their work. Any changes you need to make so that your team is more accountable?
Virtual Leadership and Reliability
Here it gets tricky. Leaders must trust their team to be accurate, unless they want to be double-checking all of their work. So, how can a leader inspire reliability? First, each team member must be trained sufficiently and effectively. Not only that, but the team needs access to all applicable documents or videos for changes or updates for continued training and improvement.
When one team member provides the wrong information that can cause a chain reaction, affecting the entire project with disastrous results. Get to know your team and their individual skills. Be explicit with your expectations of the task and their contributions. Be positive, though, providing sandwiched feedback, letting them know what they did well and what could be done better.
Advice from the experts? Some leaders have created a new position on the team for someone to be the efficiency expert, creating documents and videos for continued team training and development. Team members can review these at their own pace and whenever they need a refresher. By accessing a training library, new and seasoned team members can be trained effectively. What else can you do to encourage the reliability of the work of your team?
Virtual Leadership and You
In conclusion, virtual leaders now must wait. Virtual team members now must wait. Frustration can lead to discontent and perhaps even a lack of trust. How do you keep your team motivated to cover this gap? You certainly don’t want to micromanage those on your team, but in order to lead, you really do need to be aware of who is doing what. By using technology to groom your virtual team, you can be available and monitor their accountability and reliability.
But perhaps this all still makes you feel uneasy. By using an effective and efficient tool, you can manage your team from your smartphone. That tool is called Business Glu.
We’ll create your own app with your brand, your logo, and your team’s colors. Business Glu makes it easy for you to upload materials and resources on your computer, and then send a push notification to your team about those. Not only that, but you can keep track of their training progress with this tool.
In other words, Business Glu will help you lead your team. The results of using the app? Availability, accountability, and reliability! All wrapped into one tool. We look forward to showing you how.