Virtual Leadership: Best Practices To Lead A Virtual Team

An increasing number of sales professionals are moving towards remote working. What does this mean for leaders? How does virtual leadership work?

As a leader, it's important to learn how to effectively lead a virtual team to stay competitive. This blog post will explore four of the best practices for virtual leadership. By following these best practices, you can ensure that your team is productive and successful, regardless of where they are located. We will also review what are the main tasks of a virtual leader and how to increase work satisfaction in your team with an upstanding virtual leadership style.

Virtuelle Führung

What Is Virtual Leadership?

Virtual leadership is a form of leadership or management in which teams are managed across a physical distance. As with traditional leadership tasks, the focus of virtual leadership is on motivating employees and supporting teams in achieving their goals. Nevertheless, virtual leaders need a different approach to management and a unique set of skills compared to traditional executives. This is because team communication occurs using virtual channels, instead of taking place in person.

Why Is Virtual Leadership So Important?

There are different studies that show that there was already a considerable amount of employees working from home even before the pandemic, but that number has since exploded due to the various lockdowns. According to Virtualspeech, 52% of employees worldwide were already working from home at least once a week even before the pandemic. In a study conducted by Gartner, 74% of the studied companies admitted that they were planning to permanently switch some of their employees to remote work after the pandemic. In another study conducted by CoSo Cloud, 77% of remote workers said that they were more productive when working from home.

Why is virtual leadership important

With more teams working remotely, the need for strong virtual leadership skills has escalated. In addition, the way leaders interact with their employees has changed. Virtual leaders can no longer manage what team members are doing in the same way they did when everyone was in the office. They need to rely on the skills of their employees, focus on setting clear expectations and goals and create a work culturearound accountability.

Some Best Practices For Virtual Leaders

  1. Use The Right Communication Platform
  2. Set Realistic Expectations
  3. Be Transparent
  4. Be Clear And Concise

1. Use The Right Communication Platform

The shift to a virtual environment requires various suitable platforms for communication. Different circumstances might require different communication channels: emails, direct messaging, calls, and social media - the appropriate communication tool has to be found for every occasion. The tools should be selected carefully in order to optimize work processes in the best possible way. Also, be aware that it may take time for all your employees to become familiar with new technology.

2. Set Realistic Expectations

There are a number of reasons why virtual work can be challenging. Not only are there numerous distractions that employees can face at home, but it can also take some time to get everything ready and running smoothly when you first make the transition. In such cases, show understanding of the situation and have realistic expectations regarding the availability of your employees.

Setting and managing expectations is essential to a well-functioning business. Failure to set clear expectations can lead to disappointment, underperformance, missed deadlines, and a host of other issues that diminish productivity and demotivate employees. Communicating your realistic expectations as their leader from the start, but also providing a clear structure and process will foster trust and understanding within your team.

3. Be Transparent

Transparent management creates clarity for employees and leads to realistic expectations. Conversely, withholding information sometimes leads to poor communication and many misunderstandings that ultimately lead to unfulfilled expectations. Leaders are always looking for ways to motivate their employees to do their best. One of the best ways to increase employee performance is through effective, and most importantly, transparent leadership.

Not surprisingly, most employees find it easier to trust transparent leaders. While it takes time to gain employees' trust, being honest and open from the start will make it easier for them to trust you, laying a solid foundation of trust and respect. As a manager, remember to get your employees on board with the changes that are introduced in the company. Share your plans and goals so everyone has a clear idea of company goals and can align them with work strategies.

4. Be Clear And Concise

Good communication is a core task for management and a key characteristic of a good manager. Effective communication and effective leadership are closely intertwined. As a leader, you must be a skilled communicator in countless relationships at the organizational level, in communities and groups, and sometimes on a global scale, to achieve results with others—especially in a virtual environment.

Being clear and concise means choosing your words purposefully, constructing your sentences carefully, and using terminology that your counterparts recognize. By communicating like this, you will get straight to your point in a way your audience can easily comprehend.

A Virtual Leader's Tasks

We have summarized the most important areas of responsibility of a virtual leader:

  1. Manage (remote) communication between team members
  2. Organize and moderate video conferences
  3. Clarify technological issues (e.g., which software to use for meetings)
  4. Manage and supervise work packages (via e-mail or project management tools)
  5. Establish clear rules and goals
  6. Be the contact person for questions and problems

Virtual Leadership Skills

Increase Team Satisfaction With An Upstanding Virtual Leadership Style

The virtual workplace differs from traditional work environments, specifically due to virtual communication, which can be more challenging than face-to-face interactions. A study found that greater work satisfaction could stem from smooth interactions between managers and employees, also among virtual employees. Management style is also crucial for your employees’ work satisfaction.

The same study also found that a positive attitude towards working remotely is associated with higher job satisfaction. Smooth interactions between managers and employees, in combination with a transformational leadership style, can play a major role in employee work satisfaction. Companies with virtual work environments that want happy and productive employees need to recognize that their leaders play the most important role in this goal.

 Virtuelle Führung

Do you want to learn more about virtual leadership & successful remote leadership? Here you will find more information about our offer.

Astrid Menzl

Astrid Menzl

A Rennweg 1, 6020 Innsbruck, Austria E office@pdagroup.net T +43 (0)512 56 09 70

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Sales Enablement Insights from PDAgroup (EN)

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