How to Lead Virtual Teams With Humility

how to lead virtual teams with humility team anywhere leadership podcast episode 37
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On today’s podcast, we interview Bert Sarkkinen, founder and owner of Arrow Timber Framing. Inside this episode, he shares with us that the secret to creating committed virtual teams is to embrace humility in leadership. As leaders practice humility, they’ll place a greater emphasis on listening rather than speaking and be more open to experimenting. 

Brett emphasizes that Humble Leadership is more about listening than speaking. Additionally, humble leaders should spend more time asking questions uncovering what’s in other people’s heads rather than spending time communicating what they are thinking. Humble leadership is more about just simply trying things and improving with each iteration  rather than trying to create the perfect masterpiece the very first time. 

What is humility? Photo by Andrea Piacquadio from Pexels

What is Humility?

Dr. Robert Hogan defines humility (in leadership) as the ability to be willing to admit mistakes, share credit, and learn from others. Humility in leadership is the magnet that grounds leaders from their egotistical state. It is perhaps the most important characteristic for engaging others and fostering communication and results. 

2 Main Beliefs Inside The Humble Leader

Leading humbly is acknowledging that 100 brains is better than one. Humble leaders intentionally avoid the spotlight and move the spotlight to their teams. Humble leaders make decisions and take action based on three main beliefs. 

Belief #1 You Don’t Know What Someone Else is Thinking, So Listen More Than You Speak

The humble mindset lies in believing that you really don’t know what someone is thinking. Humble leaders spend more time discovering what others are thinking rather than assuming that they know. The only action a leader can take is to listen more so all ideas are heard, put on the table, and considered for action. 

Humble leaders avoid giving tons of information to their teams right away for the sake of “saving time.” Humble leaders practice the “listen more than you speak” by allowing their team to work on projects at their own pace. As the team hits roadblocks, humble leaders give them the information they need, slowly, along the way. This approach offers more opportunities for the team to be open to learning, rather than getting flooded with information when they aren’t ready to receive it.

To practice this, for your next project, instead of leading and directing the meeting, take a step back and instead ask your team the following questions. 

  • What are we trying to do?
  • What is important here?
  • How should we go about this?

Belief #2 Misunderstandings Happen

The Humble leader understands that messages between the leader and listener can be misunderstood. As leaders and teams develop, their paradigms change. During this time of transition, messages are often misunderstood. Humble leaders recognize the importance of constant dialogue to align intention with consequence and to clear up misunderstandings. 

How to Lead Virtual Teams with Three Tips

#1 Self-Awareness: Get Clear About Who You Are & What You Want

The first tip Bert offers in leading a virtual team is to get clear on your core values so you can establish centered criteria for hiring the right people. Bert explains that by understanding yourself and your core values, you can practice depth during the interviewing process.  

#2 Hiring for Fit

Bert subscribes to the EOS system for hiring. Leaders can build effective virtual teams, but they need to spend time focusing on getting the right person, with the right capacity, sitting in the right chair. This approach encourages high performance and results. To do this, Bert follows four parts of the EOS hiring system, which is: 

  • Hiring for values fit – Does this person’s core values align with the company’s core values?
  • Understands the Role – Does the person understand what their job is? 
  • Desire – Do they want this job?
  • Capability- Does this person have the capacity to do the job?

EOS Hiring Example: Humility is Firing Yourself

This year, Bert fired himself from sales. He struggled with sales because he felt being a good salesperson meant “blowing his own horn.” As the owner and founder, this made him feel uncomfortable. He discovered someone inside his company who wanted to do the job and was much better at sales. Now, instead of spending his time on sales, Bert can focus on other aspects of the company that are a better fit for him. 

#3 Always Accept Feedback without Getting Defensive

Celebrate your mistakes and give others permission to be honest. Leaders need to avoid becoming defensive. When leaders become defensive, they will suppress honest feedback. Leaders will get a lot from their employees by regularly asking for feedback and becoming role models for continuous improvement. 

About Bert Sarkkinen: 

When Bert Sarkkinen was 16, he quit his job as a farm hand and went to work for his father as a framing apprentice. This golden opportunity gave him the foundation to become a trailblazer in the hybrid timber framing industry. Bert Sarkkinen is not only the founder of Arrow Timber, he is also the author of The Art of Hybrid Timber Framing. The book is a guide for people who want to explore Timber Framing, and for those who enjoy the unique aesthetics it offers architecture and homebuilding. It is a look into the amazing world of timber framing as well as the repository for Sarkkinen’s unique leadership style and design and life philosophies. For more, visit Bert Sarkkinen’s website as well as Arrow Timber’s website.

Learn how to lead virtual teams with humility inside this podcast episode today.

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

How to Lead Virtual Teams Quotes:

  • how to lead virtual teams with humility team anywhere leadership podcast episode 37
  • how to lead virtual teams with humility team anywhere leadership podcast episode 37
  • how to lead virtual teams with humility team anywhere leadership podcast episode 37

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