A Big Dose of Inspiration For Remote Leaders

Top 10 Most Influential People in Leadership Consulting, 2022

In a world that is constantly changing, it is to our advantage to learn how to adapt and enjoy something better

Leaders are the most valuable asset and pivotal to business performance in today’s evolving and unpredictable environment. In a world where change happens at a fast and unpredictable pace, effective leadership is vital to business performance. Businesses around the world are working hard to adapt to a new way of life brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Many companies made the switch to remote work at the start of the global pandemic, and remote collaboration will likely continue for the foreseeable future.  As such, the demand for good virtual leadership skills is more important than ever. Research shows that moving to a virtualized world puts leadership skills to the test.

Understanding Virtual Leadership

The definition of virtual leadership is a form of leadership in which teams are managed via a remote working environment. Like traditional leadership roles, virtual leaders focus on motivating employees and helping teams accomplish their goals. Virtual leadership focuses heavily on boosting collaboration through regular communication, transparency, and accountability.

In the virtual world, however, each employee’s home throws up different challenges: unique stresses, relationships, and domestic circumstances. Everyone is their own tech support manager, battling with bandwidth and other background obstructions. Hence, virtual leaders must take a different management approach compared to leading in an office, as team communication isn’t done in person, but rather through online and virtual mediums. Strong leadership and people-oriented values are instrumental in creating a business culture that’s productive, innovative, and able to adapt to an ever-changing professional landscape.

Virtual leadership training can help you acquire the skills needed to lead your digital team to success. Training topics might include effective ways of communicating without face-to-face interaction, development of high emotional intelligence to steer team empowerment, culture, collaboration, and engagement, and maximizing your online tools while perfecting your technical skills to use the tools efficiently.

Important virtual team leadership skills

  • Transparency:Don’t keep relevant company data locked away in departmental silos – make it accessible so workers can have a better understanding of your goals and desired outcomes.
  • Inclusion: Allow employees to participate in the planning phases of your projects, as they’re the ones with the technical know-how and practical skills (meaning they can offer valuable insight when you’re creating an action plan).
  • Trust: Leadership and workers should be upfront and completely honest when sharing data and status updates (even unfavorable information) to maintain credibility and preserve the integrity of the data being shared.

As a virtual leader, you can ask yourself these questions:

  • Am I checking in with my employees enough?
  • Are they using their skills in the best way possible?
  • What is the best way to keep my people engaged?
  • What is the most organized way to get projects done?
  • What tools do I have to make everyone feel more connected?

The key to having a great and smooth balance with work as a virtual leader is to match the medium with your message by using the right communication method. These are the appropriate messages for each medium:

Instant messaging: Programs like Hangout and Google Chat are best for quick communication needs, like checking project statuses, asking questions, or coordinating schedules. You can also share a friendly “Hello!” or share a funny meme, via this medium.

  • Email: If you need to communicate something to be referenced later on, like long, detailed messages or directions, email should be your go-to.
  • Video: Connect face to face through video whenever you can. 65% of people are visual learners, making video the perfect medium for engagement. You can schedule daily to weekly video meets to get your teammates to be more engaged and involved.
  • Phone: Sensitive conversations & conflict resolution that need to be done personally and privately should always be done over the phone as it can’t be done in person.

Essential tips a virtual leader needs

  1. Stay in contact with remote employees
  2. Work on setting the expectations and explaining goals
  3. Have clear and concise communicators
  4. Lead with empathy and foster trust
  5. Encourage open dialogue
  6. Make yourself accessible
  7. Give your team the right resources

Importance of developing emotional intelligence as a virtual leader:

Having and developing emotional intelligence will help you manage the stress and emotions faced in a virtual leadership role. Engaging your emotional intelligence helps you build strong relationships with your remote team.

  • Self-management– Ability to control impulsive behavior and feelings.
  • Self-awareness– Recognizing your emotions and their effect on your thoughts and behavior.
  • Social awareness– Empathy and the ability to comprehend the emotions and concerns of others.
  • Relationship management– Communicating clearly, developing and maintaining good personal relationships with others.