If you have been leading a virtual team for any period, you know the importance of setting up some guidelines to support the team and your leadership. Most of my days of leading a fast-growth company required my team to in the same office as me. However, my remote team started four years ago. I had to discover what works and what doesn’t. There are coronavirus leadership challenges that I want you to know about before you have to handle the issues. This is a time to be proactive when leading a virtual team. In today’s video, I give you four Golden Rules when leading a virtual team that makes you all more productive and helps you survive through this phase of work.
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Insight on Leading a Virtual Team: The Transcript
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
Today I want to talk to you a little bit about leadership specifically about leading a virtual team. Now, many of you have never led a virtual team. And this is completely new to us. So hopefully, you’ll get something out of it specifically. But if you’ve been doing this for a while, maybe you can chime in here and add your own golden rules behind leading a virtual team. I used to run a business where we couldn’t be virtual because there was so much shipping going on and all of the conversations necessary for us to be in the same room.
Over the last four years, though, I’ve been leading a virtual team. So the four things I want to go over today. I’m not saying this is it, I’m just saying these are some things to think about as a leader of a fast-growth company, or any kind of company right now in times of uncertainty. So what does this mean for you? Well, coronavirus has changed the way we work so your leadership styles and rhythms may have had to change as well. So let’s just go over these golden rules.
The first one is never giving feedback, like negative feedback via chat, messenger text slack. It’s too easy to misinterpret these things. If you’ve got to give negative feedback to an employee, to a team member to a whole team. Don’t do it in an electronic way, have a conversation, have the real context to it. Let them understand the tone of your voice. Let them understand that you know, maybe you’re angry, it’s okay to be angry. It’s okay to express these things. But it’s also how do we move forward, you want to create a safe environment. Using negative feedback is clear as you think you’re writing it can always be misinterpreted. And in times like this when tensions are high, and emotions are running high, it is hard.
So the first Golden Rule. Don’t give negative feedback via chat text messenger or any of those channels. Now, another one that I wanted to highlight here is really just about the meeting cadence. You know, a lot of people think that you, you have to have a lot more meetings. And I don’t think you have to have a lot more meetings, but you have to be intentional about the meetings, you do have the meeting, cadence matters. And you want to make sure you’re leading people in a place where you’re supporting them. So here are some kinds of meetings that you need to be thinking about if you’re going to lead a virtual team. Now, this matters if you’re the CEO of a team, or if you’re running a team of three or five or 10 or 12 people, whatever it may be, you want to make sure you think about the meeting cadence overall. The first one is the daily stand-ups.
My team and I have been doing daily stand-ups almost daily for probably about six, eight months. Sometimes I feel like they might be a little bit a waste of time, but actually, we have five or six minutes more. Lately, I’ve been asking about what’s going on inside their world to tune in, because I’m not sure if their grocery stores are stocked or if they’re out of toilet paper. We’re having some of those conversations. But what we’re really doing is talking about the work moving forward and aligning as a team each day.
Now, those don’t have to be long meetings. The average time, if I really thought about it is probably about six or seven minutes for a team of three people. It’s not much time to give that daily standup, you also want to have weekly meetings to provide some connection. So this is not just about the projects you’re working on. But how you’re working together, how you’re actually connecting what’s going on in their world. How is homeschooling going? I’ve had so many people on Facebook, talk about, you know, the difficulties homeschooling. And I have a great, almost 13-year-old who has been doing a really good job, but we made some rules, some guidelines ahead of time and you know, I’d love to hear what other parents are doing that’s working. And that’s it actually talked about some things that aren’t working, because it’s it is a new world, talk about some of the things that are going on about getting work done about the challenges they have, not just about the work itself, but about, you know, the challenges of working from home.
Let them feel heard. If you have a weekly meeting like that, it really is important for the team to align together about some of the more personal issues going on in their lives. And that will help. A third Golden Rule behind this is flexible on hours. Now, I know a lot of you would love to, you know, call all the shots of your business. I mean, it’s what I’ve been, the only thing I really know as an entrepreneur is to how to call the shots. I work when I want to work. I stopped when I want to stop. If I feel tired, I stop. Guess what, your employees are the same thing. They have different schedules with their families. You want to make sure that you are allowing them the flexibility to work their own hours, don’t you grade them on? Do they sit down at their desk at you know, [8:30] this morning? And did they stay there till 12 until lunch? That won’t work in a virtual world. You want to give them trust and flexibility? Let them do their own hours.
Now, encourage them to get the work done. As talking about the results, not how many hours did you work because it really doesn’t matter how many hours someone works, it’s how much results are they getting through and getting the projects done serving customers sales, marketing, the results matter so much more. Your job is to cast direction and not manage the task. If you’re thinking you’re going to micromanage inside this new world of virtual employees, it really is going to be difficult for you as a leader. But if you learn to let go and trust, really trust them, you can actually create more of a bond because they will feel that trust. Don’t worry about the hours now encourage them to work the hours that are necessary.
For them, show up for the meetings, be on time, all those things are really important for everyone working as a team. That’s the third Golden Rule. The fourth golden rule that I’ve been thinking about here is, and you may not think about this, but I really know the value of values in a company. And so if you are moving to a more virtual experience, you want to make sure that you’re having a monthly conversation about the values going on. Maybe you’re sharing stories of how someone has honored those values if you have a value of having heard, one of my clients that today has a value of customers for life. Imagine people telling a couple of stories around that every month, talking about the values of the company and aligning that to the mission of the company. How are we really moving toward now more than error ever? Tongue Tied there. You really want to be tuned into the values of the company. You want to make sure everyone is aligning with these values. I appreciate all my friends Watching and tuning in here. Maybe you’re bored, and just don’t know what I do for a living. But I really love working with the founders and leaders of companies are growing fast.
I know not everybody’s going faster. They’re concerned about how do we hold on. But you want to make sure that you are stepping up as a leader right now, the golden rules I’ve been talking about are really about how to lead a virtual team. These are some of the golden rules. I’m not saying these are everything, but let’s just go back through them really quickly. Never give negative feedback via chat messenger text. It just doesn’t work that you don’t read the tonality. If it can’t be misinterpreted, it will be granted. We’ve all done that. be intentional about the cadence of meetings, the different kinds of meetings that you have, and not just about the projects about what’s going on this day. Daily stand up meetings or what’s going on this week have meetings around the context of what people are struggling with within their home life. To work at home, be flexible on the hours. Don’t be so determined that everyone’s got to work a certain number of hours and be at their desk at a certain time because it doesn’t work with their own home schedule. Give them that flexibility.
Now, workers need to show up for meetings, they didn’t show up for client calls, he shows up for things that are on the calendar. I really think we should be sharing calendars. Across this. I share my calendar, my team, and I have nothing to hide. And finally, make sure you do some monthly polling and conversations around the values of the company share the stories of how you’re living the values of honoring the values of the company. If you don’t have values yet. It’s something you really want to do because it’s one of the core foundational elements of leadership. And many times in times of crisis, you’re going to go back to the foundations. And that’s what I wanted to remind you of today. So I’m going to sign off here.
If you have any questions about leadership about what I do and how I’m doing it. Make sure you reach out to me I’d love to share more with you and give more to you. I’ll come in more often. But I really wanted to put these together about leading a virtual team. It’s time that we step up as leaders, it’s easy to lead a team. When things are going well. It’s hard to lead when things are uncertain, but it’s more important than ever. My name is Gene Hammett. I help founders and CEOs and their teams grow fast and create the leadership that the team deserves. If I can help you in any way, make sure you reach out bye.
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