Leading Virtually: Leadership Communication Essentials
Communication Essentials for Engaging and Leading Virtually
by Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™
More than ever before you are leading virtually with people dispersed throughout the country or globe. Make sure you replace the image of managing remote employees with one of engaging virtual teams. How you communicate creates the image and impacts the outcome — good or bad.
The remote image demotivates; the virtual engaged image inspires.
The remote image detaches; the virtual engaged image connects.
The remote image controls; the virtual engaged image empowers.
The remote image prioritizes who’s important; the virtual engaged image includes and collaborates.
Image licensed from Istock.com
9 Communication Essentials for Engaging and Leading Virtually
Do you want your employees to feel like a radio controlled car that you operate remotely?
Or a virtual, trusted, dream team at the heart of company success? Use these steps to build a virtual dream team.
- Build Bonds. Communication can focus on just facts and details or it can also build bonds of teamwork. When leading virtually, facts only communication can come across as giving orders. Communicate with everyone to engage their talents and ideas. It shows respect for their value and therefore builds bonds. Also, get to know them as people. Face time and fun time are critical to leading virtually. Develop an uncommon talent for developing common bonds.
- Show commitment. When a leader is very laid back when leading virtual teams, the teams may see it as uncommitted. Show them your passion for the mission and for their talents. That will inspire and energize your teams no matter how far apart they are physically.
- Understand culture. This is critical of leadership in general. Yet with virtual teams, it’s especially important. Ex-pats need your understanding of their adjustment to a different culture and natives need your true understanding of their culture. Learn about different cultures and offer this learning to the employees. When leading virtually, communicate with true cultural knowledge and awareness.
Leading Virtually Anyone Anywhere
- Be clear. Working virtually can increase anxiety. When you communicate clearly as a leader, you can reduce anxiety. However, don’t demand clarity from those you lead out of your fear. Be clear to relieve their fear. “Spread light where there is darkness; don’t spread darkness where your teams need light.” ~ Kate Nasser
- Explore and learn. Explore their talents, ask questions, learn from those you lead. It makes their value and purpose crystal clear. Ask great open-ended questions to help everyone reach the team goals. Yet, avoid the detective approach for it suggests trouble. Explore the positive possibilities with them! Dialogue is inspirational and it prevents tunnel vision!
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Leading Virtually With Engagement
- Empower. To lead virtually, empower with your knowledge, insight, and experience. Likewise, do not dump your responsibilities on those you lead and call it empowerment. Struggling when resources are nearby is tough. Struggling alone when resources are few or far away can be devastating. Empower them don’t abandon them!
- Be Available. Most leaders see team empowerment as less involvement for them. When leading virtually, empowerment means that employees have access to you and other resources as they work in their local time zone. Employees have to analyze and asses information then decide, and act. How will the teams have access to your knowledge and information when they need it? Ask your employees for examples and ideas on this issue.
- Reach out. Simply put, when leading virtually don’t assume silence is golden or no news is good news. Reach out and ask them on a weekly video chat: “What are the top challenges you are dealing with? What chips away at your morale? What can I do to facilitate your success? What would you like me to do differently?”
- Inspire them. Your words can woo them to higher levels of achievement or wound them with disdain. Choose wisely. Be honest not blunt. Celebrate their successes and have everyone learn from mistakes. Build togetherness while respecting individuality. Turn monologues into dialogues. In other words, network your inspiration to engage the hearts and minds of those you lead virtually.
The evil of isolation from distance or differences undermines the true potential of virtual teams. Reduce isolation through communication and a unified purpose. Engage, inspire, and empower.
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Originally Published Leading Virtually: Leadership Communication Essentials – Kate Nasser
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