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Being successful at building a virtual team can be challenging. You need to overcome the obstacles of managing and building a team that you cannot see. Just as with traditional face-to face teams you need to inspire your virtual team to create and meet goals, maintain motivation and work together.
Set Clear Goals for the Team
Setting clear goals are an essential element to the success of any team. Clear goals should be set for each individual as well as the team as a whole. Setting clear goals for your virtual team helps the team to stay task-focused and helps the team members to feel that they are making a difference on the team. When you are setting goals it is necessary to determine what the team wants to achieve, define a path that can help the team get there and decide what the team must do to reach the team goal.
Implement Standard Operating Procedures
It is vital to create standard operating procedures and to document them correctly. This will help the manager of the virtual team to share the procedures with the team and use the documentation as a guideline. Although implementing and documenting operating procedures can be time consuming, it will be worth the benefits in the end. These standard operating procedures can be especially beneficial to the newer inexperienced members of the virtual team.
Build a Team Culture
Encourage the members of the virtual team to see each other as family. Each member should get to know each other and familiarize them with each team member’s situation. If meeting locally is not an option, allow team members to have a chat room on a private server where they can speak to each other on a non-business level. Encourage interaction by assigning projects in pairs or small groups. As the team members start feeling part of a family they will start to create their own team culture.
Provide Timely Feedback to The Team
Whether it is positive or negative, providing feedback is essential to the success of your virtual team. Team members need to know how they are doing on their assignments and if they should change anything. With a virtual team, it is best to have scheduled sessions where feedback can be given. As a manager, it is vital that you know your team members well so that the feedback sessions do not become awkward or uncomfortable.