A Leader’s Digest on Promoting Success in Virtual Teams  

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Amidst the past 2 years, organizations were forced to find ways to allow virtual and hybrid work to adjust to the pandemic protocols. However, the challenge is on for leaders in terms of building trust, effective communication and deep connection with their team members.

In today’s episode we interview Tara Powers, CEO of Powers Resource Center LLC and author of the books, Virtual Team for Dummies and Working from Home for Dummies. Today’s topics are focused on the ideal model of remote teams (virtual and hybrid); and also on the importance of technology, communication, connection and vulnerability which will help team members as they Team Anywhere.

A Book History – Virtual Team for Dummies

Virtual Team for Dummies was written just right before the pandemic. It all started because Tara was curious about the effectiveness of virtual teams during a time when there was little to no market research data available for leaders to use.

Together with an Industrial Psychology firm, Tara developed surveys and gathered data from different companies. They targeted three (3) levels for their data gathering: executives, managers and employees working virtually. Because of her amazing research results, Wiley approached  her to write the book on the findings.

The Virtual Team Model – Basecamp

According to Tara, the company Basecamp is a good role model of an ideal virtual team headed by two (2) brilliant people; namely, Jason Fried and David Hanson. Below are the three (3) things which must be present for an ideal virtual team.

  1. Trust – The leaders of the company generally trust their employees to show up at their work and do a good job. They provide the necessary resources and communication to help them become successful at their tasks. 
  2. No Unnecessary Meetings – In order to save on time and to avoid meeting fatigue, they only conduct meetings if they are solving problems, managing conflicts, and building connections.
  3. Buddy System – A buddy is assigned to new team members for mandatory regular check-ins. The buddy introduces the newbie to the company’s culture and politics. This ensures that team members do not feel alone even if they are working remotely.

3 Important Qualities of Successful Virtual Teams 

According to Tara, there are three (3) important qualities and agreements that successful virtual teams focus on.

  1. Technology – The effective use of technology for clearly intended purposes impacts communication, doing work, and finding information. Companies must be able to agree on what technologies they are going to use for remote work and for what purpose.
  2. Communication – The effective use of communication involves knowing when to use different communication methods. For messages with a high-risk of being misunderstood, teams should use video calls, phone calls or face-to-face communication. For low-risk messages, teams can use instant messaging apps such as Slack.
  3. Connection – One of the biggest pain points of team members is the lack of connection. By being intentional in making connections happen between team members regularly, leaders can ensure smooth transitions and hand-offs. A simple tweak at the start of the meeting agenda can double the engagement.

Making Deep Connections as a Virtual Team

Some leaders and team members are uncomfortable with being vulnerable because it requires deep levels of honesty and admitting mistakes or when you need help. t. However, there are ways to foster vulnerability slowly and gently. One method is the use of appreciative inquiry which uses positive questioning techniques to bring out the best in a person, situation, or organization. Such dialogue encourages leaders and team members to reflect and talk about their feelings of connection and future actions without compromising their safety.

Who is Tara Powers?

Tara Powers is the CEO of Powers Resource Center LLC and author of the books, Virtual Team for Dummies and Working from Home for Dummies. She is also the Founder of the Virtual Team Academy. 

She views leadership as a gift and is on a mission to help fast growing, socially responsible organizations drastically improve trust, improve well-being at work, and build

emotionally aware and connected leaders.

To learn more about promoting success in virtual teams, download this episode now.

Online Courses for Leaders Leading a Team From Anywhere:

Check out these online courses for remote leaders from the Team Anywhere Team.

How to Be an Effective Remote Manager | How to Build Virtual Accountability

Fostering Success in Virtual Teams Quotes

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