On June 25th, Peel Leadership Centre (PLC) kicked off the second year of its Rising Leaders Network (RLN) with an informative and incredible session “Keys to Successfully Lead, Inspire and Manage Virtual Teams,” presented by Matt Barr, Director of Operations and Delivery at Yeeboo Digital. 

Before getting to the 4 “C”s for leading and managing virtual teams, allow us to provide a bit of context.

In the past, all PLC’s learning sessions and networks were designed and delivered in an in-person setting. All that changed with the COVID-19 health crisis.  While moving the day-to-day operations to a remote work environment was seamless for the PLC team, switching from an in-person to an online learning environment presented a bigger challenge. While remote work is not a new phenomenon, COVID-19 suddenly catapulted all workplaces, ready or not, into a remote working environment. In light of the health crisis, PLC has adapted its delivery model as well as the content of our workshops and learning sessions to ensure relevancy for the times.

So What Are the 4 “C’s?

Communication

The key message here is that the role of a team leader really doesn’t change, whether the team works virtually or is co-located. Managers must possess a high degree of self awareness and must be attuned to their teams. 

Practical Tips:

  • Organize frequent communications touch points
  • Keep communications channels open
  • Practice inclusion and understand diversity and cultural differences
  • Use the most effective electronic communications tool for the situation

Clarity

The key here is transparency and making sure everyone on the team understand their roles and responsibilities. There should be no surprises and no confusion about who is doing what, what’s coming up and who is leading which pieces of the work.

Practical Tips:

  • Develop and use a team management spreadsheet 
  • Hold regular team meetings or brief team huddles to keep projects moving along

Consistency

The key here is establishing team routines and rhythms.

Practical Tips:

  • Create a schedule of a team, as well as 1-1 meetings
  • Hold people accountable – team members have to count on each other to meet and deliver on their responsibilities.
  • Don’t shrink away from difficult conversations – have these conversations one-on-one, assume the best of others, and share facts and not conclusions
  • Fair and equitable treatment of all team members

Collaboration

The key here is to foster a culture of collaboration and reciprocity.

Practical Tips:

  • Develop a team working agreement about how the team will operate and the tools the team will use
  • Use tools and platforms that will foster collaboration (eg. Slack, Trello, etc.)

Celebrate

This last “C” is extremely important. The key here is to celebrate and recognize both team and individual successes.

Practical Tips:

  • Thank and recognize team and individuals during team meetings
  • All-team recognition via email and/or LinkedIn
  • Avoid favouritism – same recognition levels for similar successes

Does this resonate for you and your teams? Are there other things or tips your teams have found helpful?

Sincerely,

Your PLC Team

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