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Practical Advice For Leading Virtual Teams

Leading virtual teams, whether a part of your standard operating practice or forced upon you while dealing with the COVID19 pandemic requires a combination of art and science.    The science part comes in the form of both understanding human behavior and technology and the art part comes in fine-tuning your approach and personal techniques.  The following provides practical advice gained over my 20+ years in the commercial and industrial arena.

Tip number 1:  Value your team above all.  Our people are our biggest asset.  Many companies and leaders say this; however, not all walk the talk.  Now more than ever valuing your team is vital to your success.  The three steps I would recommend to make sure that your team knows they are valued are:

1) Weekly 30 minute 1 to 1’s focused on critical initiatives including risks and issues needing your attention

2) Showing compassion.  People appreciate knowing you as a leader care. Listening, responding with empathy and being flexible when situations warrant can really cement a relationship and aid in building a high performing team.  I view this part of my job to be THE most important.  My primary role is to help my team succeed.

3) Implement systems and processes that support your team’s performance.  Here I am talking about things such as easy to use virtual tools, collaborative virtual workspaces, and training.

Tip number 2:  Hone your leadership skills.  When it comes to honing your leadership skills, I strongly recommend the following three areas of focus:

1) Inspire others to follow you; instill trust, compassion, stability, and hope by being very clear and consistent in your communications.

2) Set a good example by focusing on emotional intelligence.  When the going gets tough everyone will look up to you to see how you react to the situation. Whether verbal or nonverbal, remember your team and organization is watching you. Control your emotions; stay calm under pressure and keep the motivation level up.  Remember, emotions are contagious. If you’re freaking out or snowballing a catastrophe, so will your team and

3) Take care of yourself – the importance of taking care of yourself cannot be underestimated especially during this unprecedented time.  Invest in your own R &D. Companies typically invest 3-11% of their revenue in R & D. How much do you invest?  Budget a percentage of your income to improve or take care of yourself. Consider things such as fitness programs, seminars, and courses, learning a new skill, developing a new hobby, speed reading, or learning a foreign language, etc

Guest Post By Renee Joseph, VP, Johnson Controls & Baker Communications

Maureen Metcalf, CEO, the Innovative Leadership Institute, is dedicated to elevating the quality of leaders across the globe.  Maureen will be joining us for an upcoming leadership webinar later this fall, and will be contributing more posts during the upcoming weeks.
Baker Communications

As one of America’s most established corporate training companies, Baker Communications has helped over 1.5 million professionals reach maximum performance since 1979. Globally recognized companies and government agencies, including ExxonMobil, Amazon, SAP, Ingersoll Rand and VMware depend on BCI to equip their employees with skills to increase market share and produce immediate results. Baker creates and delivers customized targeted practice-driven pathways that produce rapid, measurable results. Baker Communications’ solutions have been utilized and delivered worldwide, throughout Europe, South America, North America, the Middle East, and Asia Pacific.

BCI offers a full-range of options for learners. These options include our proprietary and custom workshops, as well as a full line of technology that provides advanced insights into each seller, a Sales Mastery online video library, voice and ambient computing learning technologies, and other new learning reinforcement applications under development.

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