How to Establish Yourself as an Effective Virtual Leader
While social distancing seems to be the new norm for a while, it doesn’t always make it easy to lead your team. For a lot of you, managing a remote team is a new challenge and showing leadership with social distancing makes it even more difficult.
But at this point, managing a virtual team is becoming more and more essential. In fact, it’s a vital skill that can help you for years to come as more and more people are working remotely. Even though you aren’t working in proximity with your team, you can still show up as a leader.
As best-selling author John C. Maxwell said, “A leader is one who knows the way, goes the way, and shows the way.”
To help you embody this quote as a virtual leader, we put together some helpful tips so you can lead your team from anywhere in the world.
What Makes a Strong Virtual Leader
We’ve found that you need to have both a strategy and tactics to help you lead a team remotely. To us, being a leader means having the right traits that will help you stand out, build trust, and lead your team to greatness. Here are some of the most important traits you can possess as a virtual leader.
Right now, it’s more important than ever for you as the leader to be poised, despite all that’s going on in the world. Your demeanor will have a direct impact on your team, so make sure to keep calm, speak confidently and have a plan.
The more clear you are on what’s going on and what the plan is, the better your team will feel as well. Remember, confidence is contagious and you can help impact them by leading by example.
Another way to stand out as a virtual leader is to update your team regularly, even if there isn’t huge news. While you shouldn’t waste their time with pointless meetings, a quick update will give them assurance that everything is okay.
By maintaining transparency during a challenging time, it will help build authority and show that you are concerned about your team. Don’t forget once this is all over, people will remember the little things like this and respect you as a leader.
Finally, make sure that you’re not just acting like everything is okay when it isn’t. Your team can tell if you’re phoning it in, so make sure that you are actively improving your mindset as well. By doing self-care rituals, and sticking to routines in your own life, you are much more likely to have a strong mindset for success.
Encourage others to stay positive by sending them motivational messages, short voice notes, or slack messages to help them. You could also start a motivational channel on Slack or have each team member find an inspirational resource and send to the team.
5 Ways to Lead Your Virtual Team
Now that you have the right strategy to lead your team, let’s dive into some tactics you can do on a daily and weekly basis. As you know, managing a team virtually has some differences and some similarities to managing in person. But virtually managing a team during a global pandemic definitely requires some more finesse as well.
Here are our top five tactics to lead your virtual team to success.
1. Communicate Frequently
As you know, communication is key to building any relationship with your team but now it’s more important than ever. People are likely scared, worried, and maybe anxious so it’s up to you to check in and make sure they’re handling this situation as best as possible.
Each time you sign on for a 1:1 or a team event, allocate at least 5-10 minutes to address how they’re feeling. Give your team a safe place to vent and share their emotions before diving into work.
Otherwise, they might be too distracted and not focused on upcoming projects. Doing this will make sure you and your team are focused once you switch topics and review projects.
Then, figure out how you can help. Ask them what problems they are facing and see how you can make their life and job easier. Oftentimes, team members might just need to speak with someone instead of suppressing all their feelings. Be a trusted confidant for them.
2. Cut Them Some Slack
For a lot of people on your team, this is their first time ever working at home. Not to mention, they might have family, kids, and pets running around so it might be challenging staying focused. Sometimes, you need to cut them some slack… remember everyone is doing the best they can.
If you’re noticing some team members are having more problems than others, make sure to schedule additional time with them. Also, make sure that you’re always praising in public (like group meetings) and giving feedback in a 1:1 setting.
Also, to give team members more incentive to work productively at home, brainstorm some challenges or giveaways as well. This might give them the extra motivation to stay mentally engaged despite working at home. Once the world returns to normal, then you can ramp up goals and reset expectations for your team.
3. Manage Your Time
Another way to be a strong leader to your team is to manage your time well. For a lot of people with a full household, getting uninterrupted work isn’t easy, so use your meeting time wisely. Make sure to keep meetings shorter than normal and ideally between 30-45 minutes in length.
Also, make sure that you schedule everything in advance so no one misses out on important meetings. Remember, since you’re not all hanging out in the kitchen or having water cooler talk, it’s vital that you plan things in advance.
This could mean doing a daily huddle each morning, a mid-day check in or end of week followup video conference. A good way to mix these events up is to have someone new lead each meeting by rotating responsibilities. This way, each member of your team is much more likely to be engaged and be a strong team player.
4. Keep It Fun
In such a difficult time, it’s natural that more people are overly anxious and stressed so you need to adjust as well. Because as you know, extra stress never leads to people doing their best work and can rub off on other team members as well. So it’s up to you to make sure you are still doing everything in your power to keep it a fun work atmosphere (even though it’s remote).
Think about it, a lot of people can’t celebrate birthdays, holidays, and likely had to cancel vacations as well. So do your best to announce birthdays, work anniversaries, or do a virtual happy hour. Keep it fun, give tons of public kudos, and ask them how you can incentivize them while working remotely.
5. Have Office Hours
Outside of your normal scheduled meetings, another idea to build trust with your team is to have open office hours. Since you can’t leave your door open at the office to signal that you’re free to talk, leaving open a block of time in your calendar can help. This will show your team that you’re there for them and doing everything in your power to make their life easier.
Showing Up For Your Audience
While showing up for your virtual team is important, this is also the time to show up for your audience as well. If you’re an influencer, personal brand, or online course creator, this is a big chance to step up.
People around the world are looking for people to inspire and lead them in the right direction. This is unlike any other opportunity in the world so use it to step up as a leader and guide your tribe to act in spite of fear.
Here are some ways to help your audience get through this challenging time and build more trust as well.
Run Free Webinars
With so many people being at home and online, now is arguably the best time ever to run webinars. Even if you don’t want to sell anything, you can run a free webinar to teach your audience and then do an extended Q&A after the presentation.
Go Live on Social Media
Another great way to help your audience is to go live on social media. You could make this a weekly event and even offer free coaching with followers if they want to sign on and go live with you. This could be a great way to show off your expertise, build trust with your audience, and offer free tips.
If you find this being popular with your audience, you can also do an AMA (ask me anything) webinar using EasyWebinar. Unlike a sales webinar, you can go live and encourage attendees to use the chat box to ask questions.
Plus, with our software you can increase your views and stream out to YouTube and Facebook as well. Remember, now is a great time to come from a place of service and help your target market in any way you can.
Provide Free Resources
The final way to be a leader and help serve your community is to send them free resources. Maybe it’s an in-depth blog post, a new podcast episode or an informative YouTube video.
While people might not be willing to invest in your programs at this time, it’s still a great opportunity to build up the know, like, and trust factor. This will help increase future launches and promotions within your business.
This pandemic will pass but how you choose to show up at this challenging time can have a tremendous impact on your business and community. Use the tips above to become a confident virtual leader, provide value to your team, and make the most of this situation.
We know this has been a difficult time for so many people and businesses, and we want to help as best we can. We’re here to assist and know that each of our plans will allow you to powerfully run your business.
To help you lead your team and show up for your audience, make sure to check out our different EasyWebinar plans. Plus, with enhanced security features, you can relax and focus on what matters most during these chaotic times.