energizing breakthrough performance

Virtually Yours: Your Virtual Team

Virtual Teams/Virtual Supervision

The upshot of management’s relative lack of proximity to most virtual teams means that the virtual team leader and other participating functional supervisors need to monitor and sanction team member behavior with due diligence and care. The positive preservation and development of a team member’s reputation, their "Walking Resume" is one tremendous lever for monitoring and reinforcing peak performance and learning in a virtual environment where management’s real leverage can be relatively faint or episodic at best.

Regardless of global location, it is essential that a shared fate culture exist. In this culture, all members embrace a vision of collective success and share in its rewards. Effective project management becomes particularly critical, especially when a virtual team member is likely to participate on several teams, some virtual and some non-virtual. Clear work breakdown structures and project timelines must be developed, communicated, and managed so that collisions between virtual and non-virtual team memberships are minimized. Virtual memberships and objectives may often be more disposable than their non-virtual counterparts just because of the power of face-to-face contact. It is one thing to be shunned in cyberspace and quite another to be shunned live-and-in-person down the hallway.

  • Among the Team Leader, Team Members and Management: As mentioned previously, the kind of explicit groundwork that effective matrix management requires is even more the case in a team setting that is virtual, either in whole or in part. We need to be explicit about roles and rules, and about relationships, where relationships are defined as support given and support received to get a job done. Responsibility and authority? They need to be spelled out even better than they are in the balance of cross-functional teams operating in your enterprise.

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