Building effective virtual teams is important for attaining the desired results from a team context, whether improving team collaboration and fostering a more meaningful and accurate deliverable, or facilitating the delivery of an effective and competitive advantage. As one of the most fundamental building blocks of any successful work organisation, virtual team building can be a key to success in many areas. Virtual teams provide a structured environment in which to explore and develop new opportunities and resolve issues.
However, building effective virtual teams requires some understanding of the challenges inherent in the design and implementation of virtual work teams. In today’s information age, building trust and creating real relationships with people is essential to the achievement of any project. The challenge is how to make sure that the virtual team members know that the same trust and commitment will be expected of them if they are to contribute to the business outcome. One of the most fundamental elements of good team building practice is the development of trust.
It is generally accepted that the first step in building effective virtual teams involves building a common understanding of the desired outcomes, so that the team can commit to their roles in a way that is sustainable over time. In order to achieve this, there needs to be some initial ‘buy-in’ amongst the team players. As part of this initial buy-in, each individual player must feel that his contribution will have a significant effect on the achievement of the company objective, whether this is developing greater levels of productivity and reducing overall cost, or increasing the company’s market share. For some companies, the amount of investment and time required for building effective virtual teams may be greater than the direct cost savings from implementing the approach.
The second step to building effective virtual teams is to ensure that trust among the team members is mutual and consistent. The idea is to get the right people to work together – and to do so in the right way. It is often tempting to take the easy option of hiring an outside firm to manage the team, but the selection process needs to be as individual as possible, and this can take time and considerable expense. In addition, outside management may not understand the culture and skills needed to manage a diverse group of individuals working together in close proximity, especially given the nature of the tasks they must perform.
The third key strategy for building effective virtual teams is to encourage good communication channels between the various members. Effective communication is a key driver of team building, because it helps to build trust and commitment. It is also important to consider ways of encouraging trust, such as regular feedback and contributions by each member. By building trust within the group, members feel that their opinions are important and can contribute to decisions, which in turn builds commitment and improves the team’s overall performance.
The fourth key strategy for building effective virtual teams focuses on rewarding performance. For virtual team leaders, rewarding performance is often achieved by providing compensation or a bonus at the end of the month or quarter. Rewards should not be too lavish, however, or virtual team leaders may find themselves becoming more stressed and frustrated with their team members, as well as having an increased sense of stress or frustration at the company. A company needs to balance the need to motivate and reward performance with the need to effectively care for team members, while still maintaining a competitive advantage. visit site for more info on virtual teams.