Leading a team can be challenging no matter what the circumstances. Today more than ever it probably feels like NEW challenges are thrown our way on a daily basis.

If like many of us you are facing the new challenge of leading a team remotely and trying to embrace this new virtual world at speed rest assured…… you are not alone. This new need is challenging even the very best of us.

You may have been tempted to try to conduct business as usual by simply incorporating technology to help close the social gaps and maintain team performance. This may have worked initially as everyone got used to the new norm, in fact it may even have had a novelty factor.

However, working virtually, from home can be taking an emotional toll on your team as they no longer have the social interaction they would have had on the road or in the office. Communication therefore with your team needs to be ramped up to keep people focused and build a sense of belonging.

These are my Top 5 Tips to lead for success in a Virtual world.

  1. Hold a virtual team meeting and involve the team in identifying how best to work together in this new world so that they can maintain a sense of community as well as improving performance whilst ensuring you also remain focused on the wellbeing of each team member.
  2. Clarify your expectations with this new way of working. Let the team know how you will be leading and your plan to communicate with them keeping emails to a limit and choose video calls over just chatting on the phone. Schedule regular meetings and be explicit as to what you expect from them as a team and individually.
  3. Have daily check in’s with the team and arrange weekly 1:1’s . Try a virtual coffee break weekly with no agenda just a show-up and chat session.
  4. Involve your team in developing a new way of working charter which should include
    1. Expectations – what team members need and expect from each other and from you as a Leader
    2. Behaviours – agree what behaviours are important right now to drive the team’s effectiveness
    3. Priorities – commit to focusing only on the big stuff
    4. Feedback/Accountability – how can they create a virtual culture of phycological safety where everyone feels comfortable speaking up
  5. Fun and Humour – celebrate the small wins, share funny videos, stories, do some riddles and brain teasers.

And finally:

It is also important to look after yourself mentally and physically. I think of the airline oxygen mask analogy – put on your own oxygen mask first (remember those days)? All Eyes are on you – how you show up will be amplified virtually, your energy levels really do matter. Being a great role model has never been more important so keep your communication positive but authentic, be accessible to your team and bring your shiniest self to the fore.