The 5 V’s of Virtual Leadership

Not long ago, a relatively unknown concept has become the focus of today: virtual leadership, or leading remotely. This requires a different leadership style than when working together in the same physical space. Many people have been working remotely for several weeks now, not seeing their colleagues. As a leader, you don’t have a direct view of your team, making it challenging to assess what employees are working on, whether they are facing challenges, or if there are issues within the team. The lack of physical proximity also brings about different challenges within the team, as casual interactions and impromptu meetings are no longer happening. This demands a different approach and leadership style. Based on experiences from my surroundings and personal insights, here are the 5 V’s for Virtual Leadership.

Tip 1: Trust

As a leader, you might be used to keeping a close eye on your team’s activities, and it can be challenging now that you have less direct control. However, being overly controlling can have a counterproductive effect. Trust in your team is crucial; it makes employees feel respected and taken seriously. Instead of excessive monitoring, trust your team to act professionally and be motivated to perform their tasks. Focus on motivating rather than controlling.

Tip 2: Connect

The risk of remote work is that everyone ends up on their own island, diminishing the connection between the leader and team members. This can be detrimental to collaboration. Personal conversations are essential; check in with your team to discuss how they’re doing and what challenges they may be facing while working from home. Encourage team members to actively seek each other out for personal contact rather than relying solely on emails. Organize fun team activities like virtual happy hours or pub quizzes. Creating a fun vlog can also positively contribute to team connection.

Tip 3: Clarify Expectations

Clear expectations provide clarity, so if employees know what is expected of them, it brings peace of mind for both parties. Employees may feel hesitant to communicate challenges when working from home. Clear expectations make it easier to address performance issues by discussing reasons for not meeting goals. This approach allows for an open conversation based on set expectations, rather than being overly controlling, aligning with Tip 1.

Tip 4: Example

As a leader, you play a role model. If you panic or express negativity about the situation, it affects your team. Keeping a level head, providing support, and maintaining a positive attitude are crucial. Sharing your own challenges is also important, as it contributes to building a connection with your team.

Tip 5: Innovation

Remote work presents opportunities, so consider how things can be done differently and be open to ideas from the team. As mentioned earlier, there’s already a digital pub quiz, and training sessions can potentially be conducted online. Explore how these changes might contribute to the work. Thinking outside the box often leads to innovative initiatives. A notable example is that people working from different locations can easily join meetings or knowledge sessions without the need for travel time.

I’m curious to hear about the things you do differently in remote leadership or any additional ideas you might have. Feel free to share them in the comments!