In the not so distant past, leading and managing a team was a far easier job. Whether you were a line manager, small business owner or a corporate director, your team were generally in close physical proximity to you (same building), worked a similar daily schedule and were in the same time zone as you – today things are very different. Technology has brought us many benefits. One of these being it has made the world smaller and more connected, but as a manager or leader, this brings with it a whole new range of challenges. The traditional 9 to 5, is not the norm, some of your team may be finishing their day as you are having your first coffee of the morning, others may not even be in the same country as you and the chances are that you have never even met any of them face to face!! These are the joys of managing a virtual team, so what are the challenges this new working norm throws up and how can you address them, making sure your virtual team is working together towards the same goals…
In conversation with a member of your virtual team always opt for “we,” making it very clear that the two of you are on the same side. Use inclusive speech, this creates a safe space for them to be open with you and the rest of the team.
When building relationships never ever make assumptions about someone’s priorities and motivation, instead, ask questions in order to learn more about them and understand who they are.
Get Personal & Be Curious
Don’t keep your conversation to work only topics. Share a funny story about your family life, mention your hobby or your favourite sport. Giving your team a little glimpse into your life away from work, helps them to get a better picture of who you are. Be curious about them and their lives outside of work. This builds trust and a more intimate relationship, providing a common ground to discover shared interests, and they may then share more about themselves.
Face To Face
Whenever possible, opt for a video call instead of a conference call, some people may choose not to turn on their video, but at least give them that option. Even if it is only a brief call seeing someone’s face helps to build a deeper connection, by revealing facial expressions, and body language.
Give Credit Where It Is Due
People need reassurance. Point out when they’ve done well, take a moment to react positively to what someone has said to let them know that you are listening and that their presence is important.
As with all teams there will always be someone who is not as vocal as the others, so pay them a little bit of extra attention, and ask “How do you think that meeting went?” “How is your week going?” “Is there anything I can do to help?”. Just asking someone about their thoughts and feelings, even if it turns out that they don’t have much to say, makes them feel valued and builds on the relationship you are creating with them.
A virtual team and the relationships formed within it are a unique and very delicate entity. A high level of trust needs to be nurtured and maintained, to ensure effective and effortless communication. From this, a successful and productive team will move forward together, able to deal with anything thrown at them.
So how can Corporate Drama help you build deeper connections with your team?
We can help you by using our interactive, dynamic learning experiences with business role-play actors and your specific workplace challenges. We make training memorable, transferable and measurable.
They say that ‘practice makes perfect.’ But the theory in a classroom is not practice, actually doing something different is. So, the best way to improve your staff’s management, leadership, influencing, customer service or selling skills is to create as close to a real-life environment as possible.
Our Corporate Drama team of facilitators, coaches and business actors bring something very different to each client project. All of our team have ‘walked the walk’ working in the real world of business, with all of its politics, pressures and relationship challenges. This means your people receive a very different training experience, one that is as close to real-life as possible. This gives them the confidence to put the ‘practice into action’ back in their ever-challenging working environments.
Here at Corporate Drama we develop authentic leaders, managers and teams. Our programmes re-energise, re-focus and re-engage your people. We dramatically transform workplace training leaving a measurable, visible impact throughout your entire organisation.
How can we help you and your people?
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