Teams may not necessarily occupy the same building or location. This may create some unique challenges. When I trained teams within organizations to be effective, we dealt with personality preferences. Team members would take the Myers Briggs MBTI to determine their type. Team members were more effective if they understood why people acted the way they did.
In virtual teams, it is still critical to understand people’s preferences. However, there are some unique challenges. Leaders may deal with loosely described job descriptions. Members of a team may share similar roles. If team members are in other countries, cultural differences may impact the speed at which decisions may be made.
Trust and communication are still critical. However, influence may become affected. According to the Forbes article The Four Keys to Success within Virtual Teams, “The upshot of all this is that managers with geographically scattered teams need a much broader skill set than those with traditional, co-located teams. More than that, they need the ability to switch between skill sets, based on the diversity of their team members and the distance between them. Welcome to a new virtual world of business.”
According to Virtual Team Builders, “80% of corporate managers work virtually at least part of the time; 40% of virtual team members believe their groups are underperforming; 1 in 3 executives agree that teams are poorly managed; 56% of poorly managed virtual teams experience misunderstandings as a result of cultural and language differences; and 70% of attendees multitask during meetings.”
For more information about virtual teams, check out the following articles:
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- Analysis of Factors Leading to Dysfunctional Online Collaboration
- Five Challenges to Virtual Team Success: Lessons from Sabre, Inc.
- Virtual Teams Challenges and Opportunities
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