Virtual Leadership: How to Manage and Motivate a Remote Team

Tips to Help Build and Develop a High-Performing Virtual Team

Being an effective manager is demanding, but virtual leadership comes with a whole different set of challenges. Working remotely is no longer uncharted territory:

  • Research from Owl Labs has found that around 62% of workers between ages 22 and 65 work remotely at least occasionally.
  • More than 4.7 million employees in the United States work from home at least half the time.
  • Globally, 16% of companies are fully remote according to an Owl Labs study.

The pandemic has taught us much about staffing in technology and creative jobs, such as the potential for remote teams to deliver many benefits. These include that employees can enjoy a more flexible schedule and improved work/life balance, while employers can experience increased productivity, greater loyalty, lower employee attrition, and lower fixed costs.

However, for employers to maximize these benefits, virtual teams must be led effectively. Employees must be motivated and challenged, and feel a part of the organization. No mean feat when you are not managing your team in person.

Here are eight tips to help the modern organization through the challenges of virtual leadership.

1.    Hire for Remote Working

Building any team starts with hiring the right people. For remote teams, look for candidates who display high levels of self-accountability. These employees won’t need constant supervision. You’ll find attributes such as high self-motivation, problem-solving skills, technical know-how, and a collaborative personality are also crucial.

2.    Set Clear Expectations

It’s important that you set clear expectations for the team and individuals within it. People need to understand exactly how they fit into the bigger picture and exactly what they need to achieve to personal targets and KPIs.

3.    Communicate Effectively Online

With virtual leadership, it’s important to stay in touch with your team and keep them updated. Teams led over the phone/video chat tend to be more productive and collaborative, but they require good management. You need to make sure everyone is working well and on the same page.

It takes a lot of hard work and discipline to be able to lead a remote team effectively. It is not enough just to talk with them every day. A good virtual leader will agree timetables of work, and share his or her vision for the team regularly.

4.    Develop Team Spirit

Creating a cohesive team is probably one of the greatest challenges of virtual leadership. It can be hard for remote teams to be as close and well-integrated as ones that work in the same physical space.

Recruiting like-minded people that fit well together is a good start. Sharing company vision and values with the team regularly also helps to forge a bond, as will virtual team meetings and encouraging inter-team communication and support.

5.    Encourage the Sharing of Ideas

Inclusion is key to ensuring team members are enthused and motivated on a day-to-day basis. You need to make sure your team members feel valued and appreciated, by listening to their ideas.

This should be done one-to-one or during team meetings. Use management tools such as metrics, feedbacks loops and shared visibility. It’s important that staff members know their manager is easily contactable and will listen and act if required.

6.    Be Empathetic

Good virtual leaders listen to their team members, understand what they might be going through, and solve any issues based on that understanding. With a remote team this will also include non-work-related issues that could be affecting performance.

7.    Deliver Career-Enhancing Personal Development

Providing professional development opportunities is one of the best ways to incentivize employees. These may be in the form of workshops, conferences, seminars, and online courses. A good leader should guide employees on their career paths, and achievements should be recognized and rewarded to create a positive and productive culture.

8.    Personalize Your Job Offers to Focus on Work/Life Balance

Providing work-life balance is vital to maintaining a motivated workforce. Happy employees are satisfied with their jobs, appreciate their work, and have a better overall attitude towards it.

Employees who have a good work-life balance are more likely to invest time and effort into being more productive and effective. And the most talented candidates are more likely to accept a job offer that delivers on work/life balance.

However, everyone is different. We need different things to satisfy our desire for a more balanced life. Therefore, when hiring it is imperative to understand what your best candidates desire most from their jobs. Is it flexible hours to fix in their parenting responsibilities? Is it work-from-home opportunities to reduce the commute and improve productivity? Is it greater opportunity to learn and develop professionally?

Here at TECHEAD, we have an exceptional record in matching candidates to their ideal jobs, including remote roles. If you are building or adding to a virtual or hybrid team, you don’t need to struggle to find the most suitable talent to fill your vacant roles. You just need to contact TECHEAD today.

Get In Touch With Us Today