5 Simple Ways to Effectively Lead Your Virtual Team

April 14, 2020

You did it.

You finally have your all-star virtual team. After hours of searching, filtering, interviewing and hiring, you’ve found the best people for each role on your team.

Yet, it seems like things are still going wrong and you find yourself asking the questions…

  • “Does my team even get what we’re working towards as a business?”
  • “My team doesn’t understand the way I do this task. I guess I’ll just do it myself instead?”
  • “Why do my team members keep coming to me with simple questions?”
  • “My team doesn’t really seem to care as much about our work or quality as much as I do… why?”

You’re frustrated because despite having the perfect team on paper, you are not seeing the results you want. Or even worse… you’re finding that having a team is costing you time instead of relieving to-dos and stress for you.

If the team has all the necessary ingredients to be an amazing team, it’s possible that the behind-the-scenes management is causing the disappointing results.

Hiring the right team members is only half the job. Once the hiring is done, it’s time to train and lead your team.


Julie Wilson, the founder of the Institute for Future Learning and instructor at Harvard University, says: “Managing a virtual team requires managers to double down on the fundamentals of good management, including establishing clear goals, running great meetings, communicating clearly, and leveraging team members’ individual and collective strengths.”

We here at Your Online Team have seen it all when it comes to successfully managing and leading teams. To be a good leader requires more than putting together the perfect team. It requires a great workplace culture, along with mutual respect.

From our experience, we have narrowed it down to 5 crucial, yet simple steps to maintain an effective virtual team for your business.

PSA: As CEO, you don’t want to (and shouldn’t) manage your team alone. Your Operations Manager (or one of our Online Business Managers) can make an extremely valuable team leader.

If you’re spending a lot of your day managing your team, it may be time to think about delegating that task so you can get back to what you LOVE doing instead!

Here’s what we have identified as the 5 most crucial steps to leading a successful virtual team:


1. Create A Unique Company Culture

The first thing you need to remember on how to lead your virtual team is to have a distinct working culture.

According to recent studies, virtual workers are 29% happier than on-site employees. 

Happier team members = harder working team members, right? 

There’s more to it! If you want your team to work hard, then they need to care about your business and your vision.

Replay your last team meeting and ask yourself:

  • How often do you reiterate your vision or company mission to them?
  • When was the last time you shared your goals with them?

Let team members be involved in your mission. Remember to communicate the impact each team member is making as well as what is working and what isn’t. 

When team members feel heard, it encourages inspiration and productivity and boosts morale.


2. Set Clear Expectations

Do you ever feel like you will be repeating the same thing to your team until you are on your deathbed… and the tasks will still not be done!

Here’s the thing, they’re not trying to frustrate you on purpose. 

Often, it’s just a result of misunderstanding expectations on when and how the tasks should be completed.

Think back to the last time you were frustrated and ask yourself:

  • Do you share these expectations in your onboarding process?
  • Do they know how and when you expect tasks to be completed?
  • How do you manage deadlines in your project management tool?

Clear and direct communication is KEY to effectively lead your virtual team. Remember, your team members cannot read your mind. If you do not tell them exactly what you expect, then they will never meet your expectations.


3. Invest Time Upfront

Taking the time to train team members correctly upfront will save you time in the future. 

Analyze your training tools and ask yourself:

  • How much time do you spend training your team members?
  • Is your onboarding process thorough and complete?
  • Do you have a “check-in” process to make sure they are understanding all aspects of their role?

The right team members are an investment.  They will help your business to grow and scale in the future, so spending time on them now will pay off massively in the future.


4. Praise Often

Who doesn’t like to feel appreciated for all the hard work put in day in and day out?

The “big” wins are easy to spot and acknowledge. The little wins often times get swept under the rug and go unnoticed.

A little “thank you” can go a long way in boosting team morale. When team members feel unappreciated, it can lead to a negative mindset about putting in the extra effort.

Think about your week and ask yourself:

  • How do you reward your staff when they do a good job? 
  • Do you notice when they make an effort to go above and beyond for you? 
  • What do you do for their birthdays?

Gift, cash bonuses or having weekly shoutouts are a great way to express gratitude and make your team feel valued. Your team members already want to do their best, but they also want some recognition for their hard work from time to time.


5. Empower your Team to Become Problem Solvers

We have a rule here at Your Online Team: Before you ask your manager a question, research at least two possible solutions/ideas to present with your question.

Who knows? They might even solve the problem themselves.

Not only does this help with team efficiency, but it also helps establish strong problem-solving skills in all my team members.

Take a look at your team’s frequently asked questions and ask yourself:

  • Do you have a system in place to help guide team members to find a solution on their own?
  • Is there an FAQ file for all team members, especially ones that are doing new tasks or transitioning to a new role?

Regularly implementing this self-sufficiency will not only save you time but also become the new expectation for all team members in the future.

Ready to take the stress out of managing your business?

If managing your team is taking up too much of your already limited and precious time, we would love to help.

You CAN spend your days on things that you actually enjoy! Like creating incredible products or delivering services, interacting with your community and customers or dreaming big, visionary ideas…

Head to youronlineteam.com and book a call with us today.

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