Why your virtual leadership is failing

  • Go to the profile of Saad Kamal
·3 min read

Three essential factors due to which your leadership is not showing the results you wished to see.

Remote work is good for business. You’ve been hearing the motto for months now. With all the tools, and top notch team members, you believed you would own the remote transition. However, at this point, it seems as if your team in passive, underperforming, and there is a low morale. For some reason, remote work is not living up to the hype.

So, what isn’t working?

Reflecting on a few months back, remote work came as an uncalculated, obligatory endeavor for a lot of us. Leading the newly-remote processes and re-adjusting principles can be met with various shortfalls. However, there are three essential factors due to which your leadership is not showing the results you wished to see.

1. You underestimate communication processes

Lack of communication has adverse effects in any kind of work setting. As an all-encompassing process that keeps everything together, it is especially a must when working with a virtual team. Plus, without the physical cues of in-person interactions, remote work communication becomes even more critical. However, as experts point out, it definitely mustn’t be limited to a set of emails or texting.

In the article on reasons of why top remote teams fail, Founder and CEO Mandy Gilbert summarizes that unclear communication is among the major red flags. Gilbert suggests that check-in regularly and keeping the team updated will be crucial for effective communication. Among key elements in fostering effective communication in a remote team Gilbert especially puts focus on voice calls. Videoconferencing has been applauded to other communications effort for minimizing misunderstanding, especially if video meetings are more regular. As Rocco Baldassarre writes on Entrepreneur, video calls are a better option for connecting team members on a personal level and a better way to avoid misunderstandings.

It is not unknown that setting up the right communications landscape is imperative for any remote work long term plan. In this regard, experts have also encouraged harmonizing the communications channels used by team members. As Jason Wingard explains in a Forbes article, all tools used for communicating must be aligned, in order to operate more efficiently.

Quick tip: If you are determined to find a tool with a broad range of communication functions, we would highly suggest virtual offices. These office-simulation tools are the most sustainable videoconferencing options, accessible for 24/7 use with all the relevant chat and screen sharing features.

2. You do not give clarity

In the effort to identify some of the main challenges of remote work, Clockify has interviewed a number of employees who had to work from home due to the pandemic. One of the respondents puts the issue of clarity more precisely: “A lack of clarity from my home office often means extra work for me because I either didn’t do what my boss had intended and I have to redo it, or we have to go back and forth by email until I’m clear on what is wanted.” Among the practices that hold back remote work, Gilbert also talks about the lack of clarity as having huge impact on a remote work team.

There is no question on the importance of clear task assignments, daily updates, or virtual meetings for a remote team. In order to ensure maximum clarity, experts such as Gilbert and other critics in Clockify suggest the use of project management software, video conferences, online storage tools, and similar platforms.

3. You do not give enough feedback

What makes or breaks employee retention, better performance, and long term improvement? As the author of a Forbes article on Feedback Practices For Employees Working Remotely, Marti Fisher, puts it “Feedback and constructive criticism are necessary components for managing workflow, employee growth and satisfaction.”. Interestingly enough, another Harvard Business Review publication found that 57% of people prefer corrective feedback, compared to 43% of those who prefer praise or recognition.

Continuous feedback is vital in a remote work context, much similarly to communication. Again, because of the lack of physical cues, it is hard for remote teams to fully know whether they are on the right track. In an Entrepreneur article, John Rampton considers non-existent or inconsistent feedback as one of the ways leaders fail their remote teams. To avoid the any feedback gaps when managing remote teams, Rampton suggests being consistent and systematic with feedback, coaching team members and offering suggestions, and last but not least, accepting feedback.

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