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The way we form project teams is changing. Technology allows workers to more easily execute remote work, and search engines and social networks make finding partner resources easy.
Beyond the core project team, organizations often form dispersed teams when resources are brought together to deliver projects. For example, a project may also involve an off-shore data center, temporary workers, an expert product engineer and a distribution team.
The combinations of resources needed for any given project are growing. With so many dynamics in team culture, organizations need to be intentional about team leadership and engagement to improve project outcomes. Transitions need to be in place as the team changes so the project stays on track.
Where people work is the main influencer of a dispersed team. The more spread out teams are, the more remote work, the more attention needs to be made to manage team communication and shared resources.
As a response to work cultures becoming more dynamic, organizations develop processes and programs to manage distributed or dispersed teams. These programs and processes allow the business to be more agile and limit risks.
FarWell helps organizations launch remote work (Dispersed) Teams and Programs. Here’s why organizations we work with are identifying a need for Dispersed Team Program development from most to least common:
We find the most successful Dispersed Team leaders develop core leadership characteristics, prepare for dynamics unique to dispersed teams, and establish trusting cultures.
Leaders who excel at leading virtual teams have these characteristics in common: authenticity, flexibility, and curiosity. These personal traits drive their teams to success.
Dispersed team leaders do what they say they will do. They are consistent in their leadership communication behaviors like providing direction, giving feedback, and following up.
Dispersed team leaders can respond quickly in a changing, unpredictable environment.
Dispersed team leaders are open to new challenges.
Dispersed team leaders are willing to be available to remote work team members.
Dispersed team leaders trust others to lead and do what they say they will do.
Dispersed team leaders prioritize and organize plans.
Dispersed team leaders communicate clearly across various mediums (writing, collaboration tools, conference calls, face to face, etc.).
Dispersed team leaders set clear priorities for their remote work team and hold them accountable. Learn How to Monitor Performance Throughout a Project’s Lifecycle with Project Governance.
Dispersed team leaders coach and influence others.
Rate yourself on the characteristics listed above. What areas need improvement?
Leaders of dispersed teams face the following challenges:
These tools assist leaders as they address these common dispersed team challenges.
A successful dispersed team leader must provide opportunities for the remote work team to connect within the organization and interact as if they would be co-located.
Co-facilitate the “Remote Logistics” meetings for your team.
Assign a buddy for each remote work team member.
Schedule social events.
Conduct your own research and provide team members with opportunities to share cultural norms.
Offer opportunities for other interactions. Share where team members could find information about what is happening outside the project team.
Ensure the remote work team has been trained in the use of web conferencing tools.
When working in a dispersed team, establishing and maintaining communication is critical. Leaders need to ensure virtual employees are “in the loop” and feel part of the remote work team.
In what countries have your team members worked from? Are you team members from another country? What have you learned about those cultures and languages?
When leaders do not interact with remote work team members on a daily basis, they can sometimes go in the wrong direction. Set the groundwork for success with the following practices.
Though focus should be primarily on outcomes, be careful not to miss other important clues to engagement. See video example.
By knowing yourself and preparing for virtual team dynamics, leaders will build trust, improve the engagement of virtual team members, and maximize their potential to develop into a high performing team, regardless of location.
Connect with a FarWell advisor to talk through your team dynamics. We offer clients no-obligation RightFit™ Discovery Meetings where you can bounce your needs and ideas off of an expert advisor.