Businesses worldwide have been adapting to the new lifestyle that this Covid-19 pandemic has brought about. Both organizations and individuals are struggling to plan their daily schedules to move towards the path of long-term success. The professional world has been full of uncertainty for the past two years.
A study conducted by Gallup revealed that 54% of employees believed there would be more workplace disruptions after 2020. Many businesses have transformed their operations to make their staff work remotely since 2020. It seems like more companies will have to adapt to this working style since the pandemic does not seem to end any time soon.
Therefore, there is a high demand for virtual leadership skills in almost all industries these days. Companies need to make transparency and inclusivity their top priority as they make this shift. The right way to go about the situation is using a virtual leadership style that makes everyone comfortable.
This post will discuss how to be an effective virtual leader. In other words, you can take this article as a quick guide to virtual leadership. But before getting into the nitty-gritty of this skill, let’s define what virtual leadership actually is.
What is Virtual Leadership?
Virtual leadership can be defined as leadership whereby teams are managed through a remote working mechanism. Like traditional leaders, virtual leaders inspire the team members and keep their morale high to achieve those team goals.
There is a difference in how a remote team is managed compared to a collocated team. When you manage a remote team, your communication with the team members will not be in person. You will thus need awesome writing skills to convey your instructions, goals, and motivation to the team members. You convey messages to the team that should involve empathy, understanding, clarity, and preciseness. On top of that, all this needs to be done within a virtual context.
Virtual leadership focuses on enhancing collaboration among team members by practicing transparency, accountability, and regular communication. A good virtual leader has the following qualities.
- Deploy collaboration tools, such as Work OS, to maintain an open communication channel. He will share everything from digital assets to project updates with the team members.
- Be transparent about the organization’s objectives and the project’s desired outcomes. The leader will make the team members own the work that they produce.
- Empower the workers and make sure they feel accountable for the work they deliver.
Managing Your Team Virtually
Before the Covid-19 pandemic started, organizations had started embracing virtual teams on a small scale. In 2014, a consulting company called Ferrazzi Greenlight asked 1700 knowledge workers several questions. Based on the responses, it was concluded that 80% of them were actually a part of distributed teams. As virtual workers and virtual leaders are growing in popularity, the need for virtual leadership is also emerging.
Remote workers seem to have more autonomy in their work. This is because of the remote nature of their jobs. Virtual leaders cannot suddenly show up on their desks to check how they are doing. They have to put their trust in their remote workers’ capabilities instead. This makes the workers feel secure.
As much as this could be a good thing, it also has some negative repercussions. If you want to have effective virtual leadership, focus on the following.
- Assign tasks to specific workers or teams.
- Agree upon a deadline and write it down.
- Create milestones and checkpoints. Use a tool or software that allows you to review work, provide feedback, and offer guidance.
- Make sure all the employees have a clear understanding of the company’s goals and objectives.
- Give all staff, and team members access to the metrics used for measuring the project’s success.
Following the tactics mentioned above helps increase worker autonomy, which helps them make informed decisions about managing their work. This leads to more productivity and greater agility in the company’s environment.
3 Essential Virtual Leadership Skills
To create a productive and innovative corporate culture, the leaders must have strong leadership and people-oriented skills. Similarly, virtual leaders should adapt to an ever-changing corporate environment.
A virtual leader must possess the following 3 essential skills. These are similar to the skills required by those who take on traditional leadership roles.
This means a virtual leader should not keep relevant data locked away from the team members. All relevant data should be made accessible to the workers so that everyone can better understand the goals to be achieved and the desired outcomes.
All employees should be allowed to participate in the different planning phases during a project. The team members are the ones who have the technical know-how and should thus be consulted for applying practical skills to theoretical project guidelines.
Virtual leadership requires you to be upfront and honest with your team members. Build trust among your team members by sharing data and status updates regularly.
Companies that adopt these three elements as virtual leadership skills can create more agile teams that effectively deal with unexpected changes and produce quality results.
Being inclusive and engaged with the company’s information and goals makes the overall planning and implementing process more effective. It enhances the resiliency of the entire organization and keeps the morale of all employees high.
Image taken from Strikingly user’s website
Creating a Virtual Culture Through a Website Built on Strikingly
If your website is built on Strikingly, you can use our team collaboration feature to practice your virtual leadership skills. This feature allows you to invite your friends, peers, or colleagues to manage your website together. You can call in up to 10 team members per site.
Image taken from Strikingly
When you send out invitations to people to become team members, you have to select the role you want them to play. The list of available roles is as follows.
- Store Manager
- Publish Rights
Image taken from Strikingly
Once the recipient of the invitation accepts it, they will gain access to the backend of your site. When they sign in to their Strikingly account, your website will appear on their dashboard.
All team members will manage the website together, playing their respective roles while practicing your virtual leadership skills for managing the whole team.
If you are running a business, it is your responsibility to ensure each of your employees is a virtual leader on his own. This can be quite a challenge. People usually have to overcome hurdles before comfortably collaborating with team members online. Due to the ongoing pandemic, these challenges have become even more uncertain and magnified.
Traditional managers struggle with concepts like worker autonomy, transparency, and accountability. But if they take virtual leadership seriously, they can also adjust to the different virtual leadership styles that would lead them to success.
Virtual leadership is all about collaborating with the workforce without being in the same room. When you collaborate with your team online, there are chances for misunderstandings to turn up. The best way is to keep an open and cool mind and try not to discuss topics of conflict during communication via digital media.
If you create an account on Strikingly, the first thing you will learn is the ease of developing a website all on your own.
Image taken from Strikingly
Next, you will get familiar with our online team collaboration tool. As you use our features to make your site more attractive, you will master your virtual leadership skills on the side.
Sometimes senior virtual leaders like to transform the organization by conducting routine virtual leadership training classes. That shows that the topic at hand does hold significant value in the eyes of the experts. Our team collaboration tool helps you get to know each other while, at the same time, excelling in managing remote teams.
You would definitely need other team members to help you out to run a professional website. Instead of one person doing the job, we encourage you to build a team, with everyone assigned a designated role. The way these team members interact will form the foundation for their personalities as they grow.
In this digitized age, virtual leadership skills cannot be ignored. If you want to become a good virtual leader but you don’t, somebody else might take the spotlight. Even if you feel that your leadership skills are not up to mark, there is no harm in trying to practise virtual leadership to boost the morale of the team members. The more lively your virtual working environment is, the more results your team members will be able to produce. This, in turn, will help you smoothly run your business operations.