4 Best Practices for High-Performing Virtual Teams

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Editorial Note: I wrote this blog post a while ago and thought to publish it in late March. I realize that with the onset of the CoVid-19 Pandemic many find themselves struggling to work remotely for the first time. In times of high stress it is even more important to implement the 4 Best Practices for working remotely and to seek human connection in a physically distant world.

I recently joined a webinar to learn about virtual teams and how to boost their performance. Virtual teams are not the exception anymore; they’re a reality for most of us nowadays. The reasons are plentiful: a co-worker who works from home some days, a worldwide project, or the need for specialized knowledge not available in your location.

While we all agreed that virtual meetings are not as engaging as in-person meetings, we drastically underestimated the resulting financial toll due to lack of productivity. The hosts mentioned that, yearly, an estimated $450 billion dollars are being lost worldwide by underperforming virtual teams.

Who is responsible for such a big loss? Is technology to blame? Or is the problem rooted in human behavior? The hosts attributed 10% of productivity loss to tech and the rest - a whopping 90% - to human issues. 

The main question, then, would be, “How do you inspire performance in virtual teams?”  

Not surprisingly, industry experts agree that best practices for virtual meetings all circle around Emotional Intelligence (EI). Research confirms that without a solid foundation built on human connection, virtual teams will struggle to perform well. You can boost your virtual team’s performance by: 

  1. making your team members feel seen (e.g. by showing team members’ locations on a map)
  2. making them feel heard and understood (by collaboratively creating a TOA - Team Operating Agreement)
  3. making them feel valued (e.g. by acknowledging effort and progress)
  4. offering opportunities to build trust (setting SMART goals).

The World Economic Forum has placed Emotional Intelligence in the top 10 necessary skills (#6) to have for 2020. Are you ready to improve how you engage with your team members or direct reports? Do you want to evaluate your virtual team’s productivity? Genos EI assessments measure observable behaviors and offer actionable solutions for the workplace. Contact me for a free Emotional Climate Index consultation.


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