As a business builder and accelerator one of the most important tools I employ to produce results for my clients is my virtual team.
However, even with the best of software and systems most business owners and online business managers still face challenges when managing their teams remotely. In my last post, I wrote about How to Earn the Respect of Your Virutal Team and when you combine this with the 7 tips below you will be so much more effective.
7 steps to help you manage virtual team:
Step 1: Build a strong team. Being a great at what you do isn’t enough unless you have built a strong virtual team to support you. You first need to know what tasks you should delegate, the skills are necessary to perform them and hire for that position. Creating a job description for the position is essential to making the right hire.
Each team members should possess the necessary skills such as communication, self-motivation etc… when involved in a remote team. I suggest starting people on a trial basis to see if they are capable of working on a virtual team.
Step 2: Systematize and build proper documentation. Having recurring tasks and common task systematized and documented is essential to success when managing a virtual team. Creating clear task documentation will ensure that the task gets done to your specifications every time it is delegated.
Do keep in mind that task documentation may need revision and using Google docs or a Wiki can give everyone involved in the project the opportunity to leave comments and make amends to the documentation.
Step 3: Cross-train your team. This step often overlooked and yet it is very necessary. You want to make sure your bases are covered in case there is an emergency or if you need to let a team member go. You want to be able to keep moving forward! If you have done step #2 properly, then you will have documentation in place which will make cross training a snap. Ideally, you should have your recurring tasks documented so that anyone can step in and easily take over.
Step 4: Have regular team meetings. You want to keep everyone in the loop and make sure that everyone involved in the project is on the same page. Having meetings during major projects, especially when you are working on projects that have multiple virtual team members working to complete is necessary. Keep meetings like these short, drafting an agenda and sticking to it will ensure that all points get covered. Virtual meetings will help to prevent any miscommunication and misunderstandings that could stop the project from being completed accurately and on time.
Step 5: Communicate with your team. Effective and consistent communication is key when dealing with virtual teams. How you expect your virtual teams to communicate with you or your client needs to be very clear. Setting up an instant messaging system within the team, Skype and email is essential so that your team can ask questions and get answers in a timely and consistent manner. Being available and responsive as the manager is key to making your channels of communication work.
Step 6: Motivate your Virtual Team. Your team members can be subject to lack of motivation so therefore it is highly important that you as a manager keeps them driven. Lack of motivation can negatively impact the completion of the project.
Remember to say thank you and to acknowledge team members for their efforts. What I have found to be one of the biggest motivators is to be consistent with paying your team. Set up a day that you pay your virtual team each month and without fail pay them on time. You wouldn’t believe it but I have heard from several people that this is not as common as we’d like to think!
Step 7: Set and communicate goals. Make sure that everyone on your team understands clearly what deadlines must be reached and how they are involved in reaching them. This is where having a great project management system in place along with proper documentation will make a huge difference. My project management system of choice is Team Work Live and there are many other systems that are also great – just pick one and get started!
Need help creating and managing your dream team?
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