MANAGEMENT OF VIRTUAL TEAMS
We know the rules of managing a team in the same building within the same office. However, due to various needs, team members may work in distant places. There may be different rules for the management of these teams. Because our old methods or habits may not be sufficient for the management of virtual teams. First of all, what could be the establishment purposes of virtual teams, let’s take a look at this issue:
The need for people working in different expertise to work together.
The presence of people in different locations (offices), even if they are in the same company.
People’s desire to work from home on certain days.
Companies encourage people to work at home for various reasons.
Forced reasons to work from home.
So how do we manage our team remotely? First of all, you need to know that virtual teams are not composed of computers, machines, presentations, remote messages. Virtual teams are made up of people, and the manager of these teams must always demonstrate that they are with them and that they are with the staff. There are two basic elements for a team to work together and produce results. The first is the work of the staff in mutual trust. For this, team members get to know each other and increase mutual trust during the period. As an administrator, your job is to create an environment of trust. It will be easier to build this trust if you have a coexistence from the past. The basic approach for establishing an environment of trust is that the manager is consistent. Keeping the promises given, giving correct and constructive feedback to people, and not making positive / negative comments about third parties will form the basis of the trust environment. In addition, the timely and accurate transfer of information to team members is the secret supporter of the trust. The manager should think in advance about who should have which information and make this notification on time. This includes not only topics such as meeting time and agenda, but also steps of the subject or project, necessary information and documents. The danger that will prevent the level of equal information within the group is changes. Any changes, their causes, results and process steps should be announced to all relevant members at the same time. The second element required to achieve successful results is the use of the expertise of the members. In order to achieve this, the manager should not only know the members’ biographical information, they need to follow what they know, what technical issues they are better at and which subjects they are less good at. The points that the members are good can be expressed by the manager as a method that will lead to the resolution of the issue, not as an element of praise during some meetings. For example: When you say “We can benefit from Ali’s experience in customs tariff numbers, he can send us his comments”, the subject is illuminated and other members learn some of Ali’s expertise.
Some practical suggestions:
When you start working with the virtual team, don’t give them big projects and challenging goals. Start with small goals and small jobs that can end in the near term. As they succeed, their relationship will strengthen and the team will strengthen and their trust in each other will increase. As time progresses, you can move the targets to medium term and give more challenging targets. Another factor that will increase the solidarity among the team members is that the team receives a training together. Learning collaboration increases solidarity among members. When assigning tasks to your team, you can sometimes have matches or group work done. In this case, you need to pay attention to your team’s geographical features and time differences. Also, as the team will mostly make electronic correspondence, remind your team that these correspondences should be written in sufficient detail and understandable depth. Finally, determine some principles that you want to be followed in your team’s work and get your friends’ approval about these principles and inform them at the very beginning of the study. Of course, ensure that these principles (especially you) are followed. (meeting times, speaking times / methods, etc.)
As a virtual team manager, it can be difficult for you to contact members face to face. However, if face-to-face meetings are possible, the group should be held at the very beginning of the formation, and it should be repeated once or twice a year, as determined by the time in the process.
Finally, do not forget that the element that keeps a team together and continues to work together, accelerates the members’ volunteer spending their energy and time, is the common goal unity. At the very beginning of the formation, determine the purpose and target of the virtual team and inform the members and embody it with a motto if possible and ensure that the members keep it always in mind.