Building Cohesion on Your Virtual Team
Forty percent of virtual team members define leaders as anyone who fosters an influence over a group, regardless of direct reporting relationships.
To virtual team members in the global marketplace, team cohesion is not a measure of who leads a team the best. Rather, it is the full group cohesion that fosters progress and success. In the end, successful teams see fewer issues of engagement and other common flaws in virtual team performance. Virtual teams are different from collocated/onsite teams in many ways. One of the important differences is the stages virtual teams undergo as members learn to work and lead together effectively to become a high performing virtual team.
For virtual teams, the Norming stage is critical. During that time, team members not only get acquainted and begin establishing relationships, they also discuss how to work together. A Team Operating Agreement (TOA) serves as an essential tool to facilitate such discussions. During this time, team members agree on, among other things, clarity of goals and roles, communication and collaboration tools they will use, response times to requests for information, which decisions will be made by whom, and how disagreements will be resolved.
A written TOA is especially important for global virtual teams whose members are separated by large differences in geography, time, and culture. The TOA also serves as a reference point for progress checks as the team moves to the high performing stage. This empowers team members and grows team cohesion quickly. Partners in Development offers a customizable TOA template to help you maximize the performance of your team. We are experts in virtual teams and the mobile workforce.
To learn more, contact the Ascendis Leadership Academy to take the Organizational Leadership Skills Profile. Please contact Sue Drake at firstname.lastname@example.org for an overview of the Profile and ways in which it may be used in your organization.