For the last few months I have been writing on virtual collaboration and leadership. In this post I will try to wrap up what has been already said on working and leading virtually and give some more advice.
|Virtual and Co-located Teams are like proverbial Apples and Oranges|
Whenever I start a discussion on the leadership, sharing my view on an ideal leader – spiritual or transformational leader (more on spirituality in one of my previous article), people seem not to understand me. Every time it happens to me I recall Alan Harpham’s, the co-author of “The Spirit of Project Management”, words: “only a few cutting edge leaders are aware of the emerging research and application of spiritual intelligence, particularly for the emerging discipline of managing complex projects “ I agree, you need to move to a higher level of leadership to understand it.
And if you really want to be a leader for the future, a “globe smart” leader, you need to move from the transactional leadership (people are motivated by reward and punishment) to a higher stage of transformational leadership - “a higher level of moral development as a result of life experience that allows the leader to put personal interests aside in favor of satisfying the needs of the followers”. (Avolio, 1994)
Transformational leadership “occurs when one or more persons engage with others in such a way that leaders and followers raise one another to higher levels of motivation and morality” and results in transforming effect holistic leader with genuine concerns for others on both leaders and followers” (Burns).
A transformational leader is more concerned with people than with process and serves as a catalyst of change, but never as a controller of change.
4 factors of Transformational Leadership:
- Charismatic leadership /idealized influence
- Inspirational leadership / motivation
- Intellectual stimulation
- Individualized consideration
Even though I’m self motivated I still expect from my leader a kind of intellectual stimulation, creating a trustful and creative environment and treating me as an individual – finding more about me, providing coaching, mentoring, and growth opportunities.
A Roadmap to boost team performance - RAMP Model
Communication - experiment with different ways of communication! Create a platform for exchanging ideas and sharing personal information!
- Trust – for me that’s the most critical factor. Trust replaces micromanagement and without trust there’s no virtual collaboration! Spend time learning about team members’ personalities, cultural backgrounds, and work habits!
- Conflict Resolution- deal with conflict right away! Focus on problem not person!
- Clarify roles and responsibilities and make sure the team understands them!
Motivation – high performing teams are more motivated than less performing ones. They work together and help one another to achieve goals.
Brand your team. Create a group identity!
Recognize and celebrate success!
Provide interesting assignments that are outside normal work!
Process and Purpose. The most effective virtual teams establish clear goals, roles and process from the start.
FB like platform for collaboration
To compensate face-to-face contact, successful virtual teams stress the interpersonal dynamics of virtual collaboration and implement practices for building trust, increasing transparency, and enhancing interpersonal relationships.