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8 rules for leadership and management of virtual teams

Today’s interactive, social and communication tools make it easier for work teams to exist outside the traditional office environment. Coworkers can be virtual or in different physical offices in the same city, on opposite coasts or in different countries.

1. Establish team objectives
2. Remind each person that he or she is a part of the team working on a specific project
a. Each person knows his/her role and responsibilities
b. Anyone can ask a question; it’s open collaboration
3. Establish ground rules which are a code of conduct and help manage expectations
4. Agree on the right technology, obtain it and use it
5. Look for opportunities to socialize virtually but have face to face meetings to establish trust
6. Communicate clearly and often; if people aren’t contributing to the team, communicate more with them
7. Motivate team members
a. Short assignments of several weeks keep the team moving forward
b. Recognize those who are doing good work
8. Be considerate of one another
a. People are in different time zones
b. Cultural differences may be expressed in something as simple as preferred method of communication (telephone, chat, email)

Notes from June 8 presentation by Craig Wood, eXtension content director, and Henrietta Ritchie-Holbrook, eXtension multimedia design leader, at the ACE/NETC conference in Des Moines. ACE and NETC are two professional organizations of primarily communications and information technology workers in land-grant universities.

eXtension, http://www.extension.org, provides objective and research-based information and learning opportunities that help people improve their lives. eXtension is an educational partnership of 74 universities in the United States. It operates by virtual teams.

Sources Craig and Henrietta used
10 tips for managing virtual teams
The Five C’s Of Managing Virtual Teams

I’m struck by how similar this is to today’s teams with members working in the same building or same city. It’s civility in the workplace.


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