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Which leadership skills are most important when working in a virtual team?

Leadership skills are important whether you work face to face teams or in a virtual environment. In this article, we'll explore which leadership skills are most important when working in a virtual team and how to foster them in yourself and team leaders.

Essential Leadership Skills For Virtual Teams

In this technologically advanced world, remote workforces are becoming the new normal. While this comes with many benefits, there is most certainly a learning curve for managers to conquer in this brave new world.

As we know, strong leadership is essential to all successful teams. When we break down all the elements needed for teams to succeed, all of them require a leader to take control and steer the ship in the appropriate direction.

But how does leading virtually differ from leading face-to-face? In this article, we’ll explore which leadership skills are most important when working in virtual teams and examine ways in which you can apply these leadership skills in your workplace.

If working remotely is a new undertaking for you, you might want to spend some time evaluating your current skills and explore how they can be applied to the new virtual workplace. Below, we’ll look at a number of essential leadership skills for virtual teams to help you get started. 

Employee Engagement'

Confidence With Technology

This is, quite possibly, the biggest challenge for a lot of people who aren’t au fait with this technology. With remote working becoming more and more prevalent, managers and leaders need to feel confident in their ability to use all forms of technology, from video conferencing platforms to messenger apps and online project management tools.

In the remote world, all communication is carried out via these platforms. So, if you’re reluctant to use them, you might find communication breaks down across your team. It’s your job to steer the ship and you can’t do this through email alone. So make sure you take some time familiarising yourself with all the tools you need and build your confidence in using them.

Virtual Team Building Events'

Recognise Achievements

Recognising the achievements of your workforce isn’t a new leadership skill. That being said, with the natural rhythms of your working day combined with not seeing your team regularly face to face, it’s easy to forget to do it remotely.

It is not uncommon for virtual teams to feel a bit disparate and disconnected from the wider company. Therefore, be sure to go above and beyond in recognising and rewarding achievements when they arise – and do it publicly when you can!


Employee Development'

Communicate Regularly

Face to face, in person, communication comes with a lot of nuances which help us understand the intention and context of the conversation. In virtual environments, these nuances are lost. In messages and emails you don’t hear the tone or see the body language of the person communicating with you, which can lead to misunderstandings.

For this reason, it’s important to communicate regularly and effectively with your team. Video conferencing platforms can help in recreating face to face contact, but before to ask lots of questions to check understanding and make sure you’re available as much as possible to respond to questions from your team. This will help them work with confidence and be more productive, too!


Be Flexible

Working within a remote team can offer a lot more flexibility for employees, which is perhaps one of its biggest benefits. However, as a leader or manager it is your job to accommodate this flexibility and have realistic expectations of your team.

This can be managed through weekly, or daily, meetings with your team where you cover what they are doing, what you expect of them, their concerns and questions.

Be Honest'

Developing Leadership Skills Through Team Building

Leadership skills are essential to successful teams. In fact, a lot of the skills listed above are fantastic for all team members to adopt in a virtual environment. If you’re looking to hone your leadership skills and improve your team performance, then consider team building activities. Our well-structured and organised activities can be delivered in physical locations across the UK and remotely for virtual teams.

Whatever skills you want to address or develop, we have a team building activity to help you. Contact us today to speak to one of our Event Managers to find out more, or browse our ready-made team building activities online today.

How To Boost Low Morale'