Do You Have What it Takes to Lead a Virtual Team?

Not all managers are cut out for leading a team they don’t see face-to-face every day. But more and more organizations are turning to virtual (distributed) teams to get work done. I cover this in detail in my new book, Virtual Teams for Dummies.

In this day and age, not all leaders have the skills to lead a virtual team effectively. Simply put, the qualities of leaders of virtual teams are different from those supervising 9-5 employees in the same office. Here are the top skills it takes to succeed:

  1. Flexibility – On virtual teams, work happens at all times of the day (and night) to accommodate members around the country and the world. More and more, people are working less traditional business hours. Leaders of remote teams need to understand that their team has been hired to produce a specific outcome and that they must adapt to members’ various work schedules and keep an eye on the big picture.
  2. Trust – Micro-managing from afar is a nuisance to team members and a waste of time for the team leader. Virtual team leaders know how to provide employees with what they need to produce, and that includes trusting them with doing the job they are hired to do – wherever they are.
  3. CommunicationLeaders of virtual teams who communicate most effectively, most often, and most efficiently with technology are the most successful. Remote workers actually need more communication, feedback and guidance than onsite workers, so leaders need to step up their game.
  4. Tech-Savvy – One of the biggest failures a virtual team leader can make – beyond the inability to trust employees or to communicate effectively – is not utilizing the team’s technology tools. Whether it’s for file sharing, video conferencing, chatting, brainstorming or project management, leaders must demonstrate proficiency. Virtual teams are a cost-effective way to harness talent and maximize resources, but only if the teams leverage its collaborative technology.

Do your leaders need some training on managing their distributed team members? If you’re interested in learning more about best practices of virtual teams, check out my book Virtual Teams for Dummies on I’d love to hear your feedback. Let me know what you think!


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