Powerful Questions to Drive Success in Leading Virtual Teams
The purpose of these questions is to help you consider how you lead in the virtual space and how you might do it better. Digging deep into your own practice, in the context of what is live for you, will produce valuable insights and trigger solutions that make sense for you in your situation.
- What is the greatest challenge you face when working in a virtual team?
- Do we as leaders recognize that virtual can be as good as face-to-face? How can we consciously tune in to all the potential opportunities?
- What might we need to do more of or differently in order to ensure our teams thrive in the virtual environment?
- When have you been at your best when leading virtually in the last two to three weeks?¹
- What did you do?
- What did you say?
- Who were you with?
- What does this tell you about your virtual leadership?
- How do you feel about that?
Challenge: ‘Inability to read non-verbal cues’
- What does body language tell us in the face to face environment?
- How can this same information be gathered in the virtual space?
- What is your approach to silence during conference calls? To what degree are you taking account of cultural differences? How sure can you be that silence indicates agreement?
- How might a lack of verbal cues improve our ability to listen deeply?
- What if a lack of non-verbal cues proves less of a distraction and actually improves our ability to listen deeply?
Challenge: ‘Difficulty building relationships’
- What would you do differently to build trust if face to face were never possible?
- What is the team’s shared understanding of the importance of building relationships and how this might happen?
- Is there any possibility that your leadership is over-focussed on tasks and would benefit from more attention on relationships?
- How can you use intentional social time in virtual teams to get to know and trust one another? What would that look like?
Challenge: ‘Feeling obligated to be available 24/7′
- What conversations do you need to have with your team about time boundaries?
- How are you role-modelling any agreed boundaries?
- How might you shift your normal working day so that you avoid ‘burning the candle at both ends’?
Challenge: ‘Difficulty seeing the whole picture’
- How will you ensure everyone understands and is truly aligned to the same objectives?
- How much involvement do your team members have in defining the team’s purpose and their expected contribution to its success?
- What is the range of thinking styles within the team? How might knowing them help you engage your team in building the vision?
- What particular aspects of listening need emphasis in virtual team meetings?
Challenge: ‘A sense of isolation’
- How can you create new ways of having the informal conversations that are part of having fun at work?
- How might tools like instant messaging, Skype and Facetime work for you in catching up with someone for a ‘virtual’ coffee break?
- As a leader, how can you ensure that everyone is included in the loop?
If you like this approach to performance improvement and would like support in getting your virtual team where it needs to be visit our Virtual Team Coaching page to find out more.
¹ Taken from ‘Virtual Leadership’ by Ghislaine Caulat