Are You a Good Fit for a Virtual Team?

Damien GoldenOr maybe you are ready to build your business larger and want to become a Virtual Team leader. Either way, you want to set yourself up for success.

Let’s talk about becoming part of a Virtual Team first. A good Virtual Team member has many positive attributes, so maybe you want to take a quick personal inventory to see if the structure would work for you.

First, are you highly motivated? If you’re a solo-preneur and have had some success, chances are you’ve been a good self starter and if so, you might work really well within a Virtual Team.

  • Do you have good communication skills?
  • Are you an effective communicator and proactive in reaching out to others, especially to share information?
  • Do you effectively collaborate with others?
  • Are you comfortable working in an unstructured environment and meeting deadlines?
  • Can you work autonomously and still meet goals and objectives in an efficient manner?
  • Are you self-disciplined, proficient with technology, and/or willing to learn new technology or systems?
  • Are you good at resolving work-related problems quickly and take full responsibility for decisions, actions and performance?

I know, it’s a long list, but if you’ve answered yes to most of these questions, your work ethic would mesh very well with a Virtual Team.

If your goals and dreams are larger than what you can obtain all by yourself, a Virtual Team might be the building block to help you attain those goals and aspirations. Possibly being a part of a Virtual Team is the answer. Or maybe even expanding your own business and managing a Virtual Team to help your business become more profitable is the right avenue for you.

If you are wondering if you are cut out to run a Virtual Team, just ask yourself these questions:

  • Can you delegate work and responsibilities effectively and trust others to achieve those tasks?
  • Can you implement processes to effectively monitor work, without micromanaging?
  • Do you have strong project manager skills? How are you at handling conflict, can you manage it within a team?
  • Are you comfortable working in an unstructured environment?
  • Do you have strong management and communication skills?
  • Can you inspire people to achieve results and recognize and reward others?
  • Can you provide coaching, feedback and support to others if needed?
  • Are you comfortable approaching, consulting, and engaging others when making decisions?
  • Do you feel comfortable holding others accountable for meeting commitments?

Again, you are probably doing some of these things already in your own business, but if you can’t answer most of the Virtual Team leadership questions above with a yes, it may not be for you. On the other hand if you answered yes to many of the above questions, building a Virtual Team may be a great solution to growing your business.

Obviously, there are many facets to the Virtual Team environment. If you are intrigued and want to research Virtual Teams further, I encourage you to pick up the book Virtual Team Success, A practical guide for working and leading from a distance, by Darleen Derosa and Richard Lepsinger. They share surveys, real life stories and what it takes to run or be a member of a Virtual Team that you’ll find helpful in your search for more information on the subject.

They also found, when surveying effective (and not so effective) Virtual Teams, that these questions, when taken into consideration, helped the Virtual Team be more successful in it’s goals:

1.    How many people should a team include? Depending on the project, whether small or large, you probably don’t want any more than 5-8 people on a project. Keeping your team at a manageable size will probably make your life easier.

2.    Pick the right team leader and team member(s) that have the right combination of technical and “virtual” skills to work efficiently in this type of environment. Laszlo Bock of Google says “It is important to compose the team differently based on the problem the team needs to solve or address.” If the team member has the right technical background, you’ll also want to make sure they are strong communicators with interpersonal skills and they show initiative and flexibility.

3.    Make sure the team has access to the technology they need to effectively work within a virtual environment. Ask questions, do your research and make sure if someone needs high speed internet, higher education because of information or other related technology, that they have access.

4.    How long will the team and the individual team members be recognized and rewarded? From the very first kick-off meeting (and yes, you should have one of those if more than one team member will be working on a project) review scope, goals, full project details, who is responsible for what and how each will be compensated and/or rewarded for milestones and completion. Obviously, if you don’t want pay to be a deterrent, discuss compensation privately with each member.

Hopefully that helps wrap your brain around the attributes of a good team member and leader.

Are you already a Virtual Team member or leader? I’d love to hear what successes and challenges you’ve encountered.  Also, please join the Virtual Team discussion at HOW in Boston in May. I’ll be joining the panel discussion and would love to meet you. And you can still use the promo code “ILISE14” for $50 off the Big Ticket or CFBC.