Today, working from home is very prevalent. This is because running a business with a remote team comes with many benefits, including a high reduction in transport expenses and some other bills.
However, these benefits are only attainable if you can manage your team efficiently from afar.
Definitely, certain skills are required for managing remote teams as they are for managing in-person groups, although managers’ application of the skills may vary. Nevertheless, as a result of not understanding the intricacies of remote management, most virtual team managers are prone to making inevitable mistakes.
Joseph Jedlowski is the chairman and chief executive officer of Distinctive Learning with a wealth of experience in the area of operational management. He will share the common mistakes managers make with their virtual teams and the ways out.
What is the major challenge virtual managers face, and how can they overcome them?
Joseph Jedlowski: When virtual managers describe the most challenging aspect of leading a virtual team, they frequently report that they have no idea what their employees are doing and wonder if they are working or not. They feel that they lack the ability to monitor their team’s efficiency.
Surely, this concern of not being in the know can be averted by constantly creating a virtual presence in one-on-one and team meetings.
What are the essential skills needed for a manager to thrive in the virtual space?
Joseph Jedlowski: When managers are tasked with overseeing a remote team, many approache it the same way they would manage an in-person department, failing to recognize that their management style should evolve and adapt. An important skill to consider is effective communication since communication is the lifeblood of management.
Managers should also acquire quality leadership skills, emotional intelligence, and the ability to multitask.
What are the top mistakes that unskilled virtual managers are prone to making?
Joseph Jedlowski: An unskilled virtual manager is prone to making numerous mistakes, but I will list out some of the common mistakes.
- Managers may be preoccupied with their priorities and fail to check in periodically to see how their virtual teammates are doing.
- Presenting information without seeking input or participation from teammates.
- Expecting teammates to “read his mind” and complete tasks without adequate briefing.
- Disregarding the social and emotional well-being of their team members.
- Not trusting your team to get their work done independently.
- Failing to acknowledge staff differences.
How do you think a manager can avoid making these mistakes in his virtual team?
Joseph Jedlowski: I often tell my mentees that none of these mistakes are sacrosanct. They are avoidable by taking necessary preventive measures, some of which are:
- Create an agenda specifying how you want your team to operate.
- Set clear goals and expectations for the team and get everyone to align with it.
- Create an enabling environment for the team to collaborate and avoid isolation.
- Understand each individual in the team and their abilities.
Do you agree that onboarding is a very important aspect of team building? What should every manager look out for when recruiting a virtual team?
Joseph Jedlowski: Yes, onboarding is very crucial to managing a remote team. When I speak with managers who are having difficulty hiring and managing remote teams, I realize that the majority of virtual teams fail before they even begin.
To effectively delegate and future-proof your operations, you must have standard operating procedures before setting out. Layout your virtual communication plans and set clear goals.