Distributed work teams require intention in order to be effective. Team members are distributed in multiple locations and time zones. However, the expectations to be a high-performing team have not changed. Wiley Publishing recently reported that leading virtual teams & improving virtual teamwork skills are top organizational needs that leaders should hone in on.
Lead Virtual Teams with with Five Practices
Patrick Lencioni, author of Five Dysfunctions of a Team, continues to recommend focusing on five behaviors to create more cohesive virtual teams.
#1 Build Trust
Use phrases like “I need help” and “I made a mistake.” Lay the foundation for a people to feel like they belong and will open-up on their virtual teams. Showing your vulnerable side to team mates helps to build a deeper rooted trust.
#2 Engage in Conflict
Encourage productive conflict by asking questions like, “How could this go wrong?” or “Is there another way to look at this?” Healthy debate around ideas is good and necessary, don’t you agree?
#3 Build Commitment
Give people a chance to voice their opinions. In a virtual environment, use interactive whiteboards and polls to draw out as many perspectives as possible. The result is more buy-in to decisions.
#4 Hold One Another Accountable
Accountability is simply reminding someone of their commitments. We are talking peer accountability which is not always easy to do. But, don’t be afraid to remind your peers about commitments they made that impact the team. Think of that nudge as a gift.
#5 Collective Results
It is important that each person knows the single most important goal of the week and how their work contributes to it. Start each week by gathering your virtual teams to remind each person of the weekʻs goal.