5 Key Actions to Leading a Virtual Workforce

Given the potential both for a new normal and no real idea when we will return to the office, it is critically important to have a system for leading dispersed and virtual teams. Outcomes that are measurable with strategies to motivate and align will be more and more critical. The ability to lead without constant supervision and micromanaging will take on more importance in the coming years. There are 5 key actions to help you achieve this and drive excellence in your organization


Ensure you and your team are aligned


While strategy is important it really only accounts for 1% of performance. The other 99% will be an alignment between you and the teams you lead. To accomplish this, collaborating on your long-term vision and the actions over 3 years, 1 year and this quarter will ensure the big rocks are accounted for and moved along. These actions are measurable with clear and agreed on targets.


Agree on measures of success


These could by key process indicators (KPIs) or Objectives and key Results (OKRs). They should be measurable with clear improvement goals for the quarter and for the year. The big rocks should ensure the teams are hitting all goals for the year and if not, check whether the plan is on track or the plan isn’t working as designed.


Establish operating rhythms to drive accountability and provide support


Operating rhythms with a clear purpose and agenda will ensure progress is made efficiently as possible. Daily check ins to remove barriers, weekly team rhythms to discuss 1 or 2 big rocks and quarterly meetings to discuss strategy execution all play a key part in driving success. The goal is to provide support and encouragement to your teams.


Create a reward and recognition program


Ensure that the reward and recognition program is built into your strategic roadmap. What will you celebrate and how will you celebrate. And make it clear to your teams from the beginning of the year. By doing this you will not miss opportunities to motivate and recognize the success of your teams.


Establish communication channels


Finally, you should clearly define channels of communication and their purpose. Will your team use slack, email or some other digital tool? When will you use them and for what purpose? Should certain communication always be in person or is it ok to post on an internal slack channel? Combining this with clearly defined operating rhythms will alleviate frustration, improve performance and ensure problems are solved at the appropriate level.


To lead change in a virtual environment is simple but not easy. By following the 5 steps discussed and providing daily support, your teams can flourish without meeting consistently in person. And given the uncertainty of returning to an office environment, getting this right is critical to your success.

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