Academics have discussed at length why virtual leadership is more difficult. Until now, there have been few structured programs to deal with the quadruple tyrannies of distance, time zones, culture and systems. Introducing V-Leader...
There is a great deal of research explaining the challenges of virtual leadership. There is advice about what you must do to ease the problems of leading from afar. But there is very little practical help on how to do it.
After conducting conversations with more than a hundred leaders of virtual and remote groups in the last year, the HFL team concluded there is a specific, immediate need to support those leading virtual teams. V-Leaders need direct help in facing down the challenges of distance, time zones, cultural misunderstandings and disparate systems.
We all know that it’s hard enough building team performance when you can communicate face to face. Now, more and more, leaders are managing team members who are isolated in some way. They may be separated by as little as working from home two days a week, or by as much as each member operating from a different city, in a different country and from different cultural backgrounds. The ‘remote’ issue is compounded when you have some of the team nearby and others separated - and what ever you do, the ‘separateds’ believe the ‘nearbys’ get a better deal.
When it comes to leadership, the reality is that remote, separate, virtual really means anyone not sitting next to you five days a week.
Having a virtual coffee
With a proximate team, you might want to talk about Project X. “Let’s do it over a coffee”. You’ll be able to ‘warm’ the conversation by having a chat about how you are, what’s going on. If you ring someone, there’s a greater sense you have to get down to business straight away. As a virtual leader, this conversation will need to be a virtual coffee with those who are separate. The success is in being super inclusive and maintaining relationship equality.
HFL making it 3x easier
The view of the HFL consulting team – based on anecdotal evidence and considering the challenges faced – is that virtual leadership is three times harder.
In the past year HFL explored – both with actual V-Leaders and via a scan of existing research – what it is that they need to do differently to build optimum virtual teams. We’ve documented the differences and developed a framework of specific tactics to counter the difficulties and maximise the performance of your team. We’ll help you apply them with your virtual leaders. to find out more…