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Virtual team building is strongly back on the agenda at all organisations now more than ever. Workplaces that once functioned with an impersonal and faceless workforce are now relying on communication to deliver results. This requires trust in decision making, sharing of information, and a willingness to engage and encourage the members to get out there and be a part of something bigger than themselves. Trust is the glue that keeps a team together and, if this important building ingredient is not there, then the team can easily break apart.
When creating effective virtual teams, the first thing you should look at is trust. Is the trust strong and realistic? Can the team leader communicate effectively with his/her team? Can this person lead in a competent manner? These are the things we ask ourselves before we commit to anyone and, for a great team building practice, try asking yourself these questions about your team leader before you assign them a new role or invite them to a meeting.
Next, you need people to believe in the possibilities, so when the trust issues are worked out and the roles are put into the hands of the right people, you won’t have wasted your time or money. The building of effective virtual teams is all about finding the right people, matching them with the right context, and then helping them to trust each other and trust in the processes. If you can’t do this, then the process will falter, to a point where the illusion of virtual team building has been broken. You may even find that the virtual team doesn’t work as well as you thought it would, because the illusion was based on false information.
Trust is not a thing that can be built within a couple of weeks or months – it takes years to build it. So, building effective virtual teams also means building trustworthy relationships. When I say trustworthy relationships, I mean that it is important for people to feel as if they can trust their colleagues and supervisors to act in an ethical way – to give good advice, to share good information, to listen to concerns and complaints, and to provide honest and clear solutions when needed. The more you can show your employees that you can be trusted to be a good steward of information and to share good information with your team members, the more they will trust you and be open to the idea of working together in virtual teams. This will go a long way towards building trust in the process.
Another important consideration is shared leadership. Effective virtual team building means building shared leadership. Here, people are empowered to make decisions in the group. With shared leadership people know that there is a system in place for making decisions in the group; they know that the leader has their back and will take the responsibility for making sure the desired results are achieved in the project. more information on virtual teams.