Managing Off-Site and Virtual Teams

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As the nature of workplace evolves, managers are faced with the challenges of of distance managing. Today’s manager are thrust into the challenging world of technology and business requirements. Work teams comprised of people in different locations, countries and departments. All of whom are expected to work on a common project but getting the job done is more difficult. With members scattered in different locations and time zones, organization and communication are key to building a cohesive virtual team.

Research shows that a leader of virtual teams need transformational leadership, including:

  1. An emphasis on outcomes and not activities
    Virtual management requires a ‘shift from a focus on time to a focus on results.
  2. Great communication skills
    Communication is key to successful leadership. And clear communication is even more critical in long distance work relationships.
  3. The power of influence over direction
    In a networked organisation leaders have to influence through power of persuasion, which is much more complex and challenging than giving orders.
  4. Relationship building,
    ‘Good leadership is good relationships.’
  5. A more participative management style
  6. Letting go of control
    Those who need structure and control are unlikely to be effective managers in a virtual work environment. Rather they need the ability to delegate effectively and to follow up to ensure work is accomplished.

Competencies of Virtual Managers

  1. Articulate a vision for the organisation.
  2. Get good results.
  3. Actively facilitate and develop team members.
  4. Aggressively eliminate barriers to team effectiveness.
  5. Understand and communicate business and customer needs.
  6. Effectively coach individuals and teams.
  7. Set a personal example.

 

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Director - Digne Consult Asia Pacific

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