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Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
Effective Virtual Teams
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Effective Virtual Teams

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  • 1. Effective Virtual TeamsWaleed El-Naggar, MBA, PMPhttps://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar May 2006
  • 2. Effective Virtual Teams iiTable of Contents1. Introduction........................................................................................................................ 1 1.1. What Are Virtual Teams? .............................................................................................. 1 1.2. Key Characteristics of Virtual Teams............................................................................ 12. Advantages of Virtual Teams ............................................................................................ 3 2.1. Finding the Best Resource for the Job ........................................................................... 3 2.2. Results-Oriented Human Resources Process ................................................................. 3 2.3. Safety and Security ........................................................................................................ 3 2.4. Spending more time with Customers............................................................................. 3 2.5. Regional Representatives............................................................................................... 4 2.6. Innovation ...................................................................................................................... 43. Virtual Teams’ Challenges ................................................................................................ 5 3.1. Communications ............................................................................................................ 5 3.2. People Management....................................................................................................... 5 3.3. Culture ........................................................................................................................... 54. Impact of Culture ............................................................................................................... 6 4.1. Mistrust .......................................................................................................................... 6 4.2. Stereotyping ................................................................................................................... 6 4.3. Misunderstandings ......................................................................................................... 6 4.4. Stress .............................................................................................................................. 7 4.5. Enriched Ideas ............................................................................................................... 75. Technology and Virtual Teams ......................................................................................... 86. Effective Virtual Teams ..................................................................................................... 9 6.1. Motivation...................................................................................................................... 9 6.2. Trust ............................................................................................................................... 9 6.3. Free Flow of Information............................................................................................. 10 6.4. Creative Problem Solving ............................................................................................ 11 6.5. Clear and Concise Objectives ...................................................................................... 11 6.6. The Right and Secured Technology ............................................................................ 11 6.7. Early Diagnosis of Problems ....................................................................................... 12 6.8. Development of Team Culture .................................................................................... 13http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 3. Effective Virtual Teams iii 6.9. Effective supporting Functions .................................................................................... 137. Virtual Team Leader Competencies ................................................................................ 14 7.1. Leader .......................................................................................................................... 14 7.2. Results Catalyst ........................................................................................................... 14 7.3. Facilitator ..................................................................................................................... 14 7.4. Barrier buster ............................................................................................................... 15 7.5. Business analyzer......................................................................................................... 15 7.6. Coach ........................................................................................................................... 15 7.7. Living Example ........................................................................................................... 158. Conclusion and Recommendations.................................................................................. 16References................................................................................................................................ 17http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 4. Effective Virtual Teams 11. IntroductionDespite the growing popularity of Virtual Teams, they are still in a very early developmentstage. Virtual teams supply solution to many organizational problems nowadays. Therevolutionary advances in the technology together with the increased competition madevirtual teams a necessity rather than being an option. Most of the early researchers focused onwhy the virtual teams are used. With the current stage of the virtual teams’ evolution, thequestion to ask should be how to effectively use and manage them. This paper will introduceand discuss the dimensions of effective virtual teams. 1.1. What Are Virtual Teams? The concept of virtual teams is loosely defined and there is a lot of confusion between it and other concepts such as virtual groups and virtual organizations. Virtual teams use information and communication technology to collaborate, share information and coordinate efforts to achieve the business goals and objectives, while conventional teams use face-to-face communication. Geographic dispersion of team members is usually part of the definition of the virtual team because the need to virtual team arose from the geographic dispersion; however, a team could be considered a virtual team if the team chooses to use technology due to different working hours or other reasons. It can be said that many of today’s teams are virtual to some extent, i.e., they include members who connect with information and communication technology such as teams with members spread in different locations, teams with members working in different working hours, and teams with members who are always at a customer’s. In this context, virtual groups should be distinguished from virtual teams. In virtual groups, performance is evaluated at the individual level as well as the individual’s accountability. Most of the communication is between the individual and his/her manager. Sales persons working virtually (they are always on the road) are members of a virtual group. A Virtual Organization comprises a set of (legally) independent organizations that share resources and skills to achieve its mission / goal. That is not limited to an alliance for profit enterprises. The interaction among members of the virtual organization is mainly done through computer networks1. 1.2. Key Characteristics of Virtual Teams According to Pauleen, “The key characteristics of virtual teams can be divided into two distinct: characteristics related to the basics of virtual teamwork and the characteristics that make virtual teamwork more complex”2. Table 1: Key Characteristics of Virtual Teams1 http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_organization2 Pauleen, David J.(2004). Virtual teams: projects, protocols and processes. p7-8http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 5. Effective Virtual Teams 2 Source: Pauleen, David J. (2004). Virtual teams: projects, protocols and processes. P8 One of the characteristics of a virtual team is the type. Fisher and Fisher define the type based on three criteria: time, space, and culture3.  Time defines the working hours of team members. They can have different shifts or different days of work. They may work at the same time, but in different time zones  Space defines the place. Virtual team members can work in different building, different cities, or different countries.  Culture defines how people interact in the business environment. Different languages, races, economic factors and even gender can influence the culture. The six combinations of those three criteria introduce six types of virtual teams. A teamcan have different time zone, different space, or different culture. It can also have two ofthose criteria or it can have all the three of them.Virtual teams can now be defined and distinguished from other types of teams, with theirabove-mentioned characteristics. Therefore, we can advance to know more about virtualteams through shedding light on their advantages.3 Gignac, Francine. (2005). Building successful virtual teamshttp://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 6. Effective Virtual Teams 32. Advantages of Virtual TeamsVirtual teams allow the organization to rise to the challenges required by fast changes. Virtualteams have the potential to deliver significant competitive advantages. 2.1. Finding the Best Resource for the Job Hiring the right people is usually restricted to two factors: the available resource pool and the available budget to hire this right candidate. What if the required skills are not available in the local market? Virtual teams increase the size of the available resource pool dramatically; resources from almost all civilized locations of the world are possible candidates. Software companies all over the world can make benefit from the wonderful software developers in India, Ireland, Egypt and other countries. 2.2. Results-Oriented Human Resources Process Employees are typically evaluated according to the results they achieved rather than the hours spent at work. The results-oriented evaluation leads to better results and overall performance improvement, even for those who belong to traditional teams whose performance will be improved as a result for the performance improvement of their virtual colleagues. 2.3. Safety and Security After 9/11, the threat of terrorism together with the threat of diseases (SARS for example) played a big role in encouraging corporations to use geographically dispersed teams. If an organizations had all its functions located in the World Trade Center in September 2001, this organization was totally destroyed. The threat of disease makes it even worse, even if the organization is geographically dispersed in several locations at the same city or even the in same country can raise the risk of an epidemic hitting this country such as the avian influenza that hit south-east Asia in mid-2003. Those two factors changed the perception of the virtual teams as a means of cost saving to a means of mitigating the risks of terrorism and disease. 2.4. Spending more time with Customers A sales force should be out of the office and in front of the customers most of the time. They are connected to their companies by different information and communication technology to get all they need to do their job when dealing with the customer, they do not need to be at the organization’s premises to have access to the information they need. In the 1990s, Hewlett-Packard started an automation program for their sales force. Every sales representative was given a laptop with a modem and sales force automation software. As a result, the sales persons did not need to spend much time at the company’shttp://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 7. Effective Virtual Teams 4 premises, they can spend as much time as possible with the customer and at the same time they have access to the company’s resources.4 2.5. Regional Representatives All companies believe in the need for local representatives that can meet the customers to find out their needs. Local sales forces as well as marketing specialists are essential for selling customized products. When Microsoft started its business in Egypt, the main objective of Microsoft Egypt was marketing Microsoft products in Egypt. 2.6. Innovation Virtual teams can be a source of innovation. With traditional teams, the firm is limited to local resources, and hence limited to their ideas. With team members coming from different locations with different ideas and different perceptions, the potential of having innovation can be huge.Clearly, we can see many advantages of having virtual teams. Such advantages can encourageorganizations to use this type of teams. However, there are challenges that rise with havingvirtual teams. The following section will explore possible challenges facing virtual teams.4 HP official website, http://www.hp.comhttp://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 8. Effective Virtual Teams 53. Virtual Teams’ ChallengesThe virtual team is more difficult to form and requires more effort to sustain. This sectiondiscusses the major challenges virtual teams face. 3.1. Communications Communications play an important role in team effectiveness. Virtual teams have lots of communications issues. For example, there are lots of limitations when setting up a virtual meeting. Time zone differences or different working hours represent a major barrier to setting up meetings. During the meeting, people may get involved in email sending or side chats. For people working at home, barking dogs or crying kids in the background represent another problem. Meeting participants hear each others’ voices, but no body- language clues observed. Another communication issue is the lack of face-to-face communications. Face-to-face communication is the richest form of communication. It also provides immediate feedback. Actually, it includes all elements of non-verbal communication. 3.2. People Management It’s always difficult to manage some one you don’t meet. Performance reviews for example are difficult to make remotely as some of the competencies need personal contacts to evaluate. The kind of job makes a big difference. If the job requires a specific sort of rules and regulations, distant team members may easily violate those rules and regulations. 3.3. Culture A big portion of virtual teams depend on team members in different cultures. A very good example, taken from the IT field, is a team composed of 4 software developers in Cairo, a marketing specialist in London, a customer support engineer in California and the manager of the team in Oregon, USA. Another cultural aspect can be found with those employees who do not step into the company’s premises a lot, they suffer from a cultural gap. They also do not feel being part of the company. As a result, there could be different perceptions of disciplines. Culture is a very big challenge confronting virtual teams. It has both negative and positive effects on virtual teams. Therefore, the following section is dedicated for more elaboration on the impact of culture on virtual teams. So, the aforementioned challenges should be recognized and studied before forming a virtual team. Organizations should be ready to handle any drawbacks that might result from having virtual teams.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 9. Effective Virtual Teams 64. Impact of Culture “The sun at one time never set on the British Empire. Today it does, but not on the scores of global corporate empires like IBM, Unilever, Volkswagen, Hitachi” Lester Brown, President of Worldwatch Institute5 The cultural effect of business environment varies according to the differences in the five primary dimensions mentioned by Hofstede: Individualism/Collectivism, power distance, uncertainty avoidance, career success/quality of life, and Confucian dynamism. One major impact of culture differences is the lack of trust. Team members may lack trust in their colleagues due to differences in culture in different ways. Another cultural issue is related to organizational culture. Every organization has its own culture; this culture is created by the company’s rules as well as its employees’ behavior. Cultural diversity can have positive and negative impact on the team’s performance. 4.1. Mistrust Team members may suffer lower levels of trust compared to single-cultural teams. This mistrust is mainly caused by misinterpretation rather than dislike. An example could be portrayed when a software development team in Netherlands that needed to increase the team size, they decided to hire in the Indian branch of the company because of the very good reputation of Indians as software developers as well as the cost effectiveness. The new Indian colleagues who come from the high power-distance culture are used to looking down in acknowledging authority. Dutch colleagues did not understand this behavior and they received it as a sign of lack of self-confidence. Another reason for mistrust can be different ethical values. In many countries, hiring one’s relatives is perceived as a sign of loyalty while in other countries it is seen as a sign of corruption. 4.2. Stereotyping Colleagues from different countries are usually stereotyped rather than being assessed on individual basis. American members of a team assumed that their Egyptian colleagues lack technical expertise as they come from a developing country. It took a lot of time for the American members to recognize the Egyptian members’ abilities despite the fact that those team members had top-notch skills that were even higher than the skills of their American counterparties. 4.3. Misunderstandings Cultural differences increase the likelihood of misunderstanding as well. If people speak different languages, the danger of bad translation is obvious. But even if people speak the5 Adler, Nancy J., International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. p133http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 10. Effective Virtual Teams 7 same language, they may communicate in different ways. Disagreement over the meanings of many important issues happens a lot in multi-cultural teams. Differences in perception play an important role in creating misunderstandings. Different assessment of the relevance of information, relating causes to results, and the possible conclusion drawn from information in hand are good examples for areas where misunderstandings occur and negatively impact the business environment. Those disagreements may be hidden, and different team members might assume that they all have the same understanding, while the opposite is true. 4.4. Stress Stress levels are usually high in multicultural teams due to communication inaccuracy, language barriers and different perceptions. Imagine a team with Swedish and Indian team members. The Swedish team members appreciate the quality of life while the Indians are more oriented towards career success. The Swedish workers who take lots of vacation will cause stress for their Indian colleagues who work like machines and complaint about their lazy Swedish colleagues. On the other hand, hard working Indians may cause the Swedish to worry about their job security. Another example can be viewed through an argument between French and American team members. The French person tends to discuss principles and historical precedent, while the American focuses on specific details of an immediate situation.6 4.5. Enriched Ideas People from different cultures have different ideas, different solutions, and different alternatives. The more alternatives there are, the more the more the possibility of getting an effective solution. Only if the team diversity is properly managed, a team will have the potential to get a more effective solution.As we see there are many dimensions of cultural differences that might affect virtual teams.Differences in those dimensions should be recognized and used as opportunities rather thanbarriers.6 Adler, Nancy J., International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 11. Effective Virtual Teams 85. Technology and Virtual TeamsWithout technology, virtual teams would never exist. Team members do not need to betechnology experts; however, they must have the required level of technology skills as well asthe ability to learn new technologies. The need for technology emphasizes the need for atechnology support group that can do installations and technology enhancements as well asteam training.Email helps team members send out information to each other. It is becoming one of the mostimportant tools in today’s communication, even for traditional teams. Reports, customerrequests, meeting invitations, announcements and memos are usually sent by emails. Emailcan be even used as relation building tool when employees send each other something funny.Web and Intranet sites are an important tool for publishing information which should beaccessible for all employees. Rules and regulations, history of announcements, trainingmaterial, and information required for employees, and a lot of other items can be published onthe Intranet.Phone conferencing and videoconferencing tools can compensate for the absence of face-to-face meetings. Net meeting tools and web casts can be used to make online training sessions.The latter examples are just a snapshot of the tools that virtual teams can make use of, thereare much more other tools to facilitate the virtual team operations.A very good example of the effective use of technology is example of HP (Hewlett Packard).Every sales person has a laptop that he/she can use to connect to the company’ informationcenters from any location. Sales persons are always at the customer’s premises, however, theycan connect to the company’s information center if they need to, in order to reply a customerquestion, or even check any policy related to the deal the sales person is trying to close.The development of new technologies is incredibly growing. New technologies that may havebeen considered as science fiction emerge.As technology advances and becomes easier to use every day, its use will heavily increase. Itbreaks geographic and time zone barriers. Solomon stated that “As businesses become moreinterconnected and more global, they must learn to make faster and smarter strategicdecisions and to take advantage of all resources available to them, especially computertechnology, to maximize development and growth and minimize problems and errors that canarise when working in cyberspace”7.So, we have explored the identity of virtual teams with their key characteristics, advantages,and also possible challenges that virtual teams might face. However, how effective a virtualteam is, and what we can do to make it effective, is the focus of the next section.7 Godar, Susan H; et al: Virtual and Collaborative Teams. Page 208http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 12. Effective Virtual Teams 96. Effective Virtual TeamsA virtual team (like traditional teams) is like a group of individual pieces that need to worktogether in harmony. To be effective, it is not only required to have technologies andcollaborative abilities, but also the development of new skills, techniques and processes. It isalso required to establish new standards and/or models, communicating organizationalobjectives and expectations which should be reflected in the reward systems.Team members need to overcome the inherent shortcomings of virtual teams and turn theminto improvement opportunities. Team members should also maximize the advantages thatvirtual teams can provide. 6.1. Motivation The organization must improve its structure, policies, and processes. This does not mean an organization has to change its culture; instead, it has to build upon the strength of the existing culture and add new methodologies to support the shift from the traditional teams to virtual teams. The reward system will have a greater impact on team effectiveness, which emphasizes the importance of measurement against the team (and organizational) objectives. Corporate support to drive and reward the right behavior is the basis for building a motivational system to allow for virtual teams effectiveness. 6.1.1. Measurement Measurement is always considered as an extremely difficult process as there are lots of variables which are usually difficult to measure due to the interdependence of those variables. To have effective measurement, teams should have baselines of the processes they should follow and the “know how” of the way they should perform. Performance reviews should not just focus on individual achievement; it should also emphasize the team contribution. Otherwise, employees will focus their energy on the individual achievements. 6.1.2. Reward and Recognition The lack of a good reward and recognition system will cause performance to drop even if employees have the best skills, training and tools to use for achieving their tasks. 6.2. Trust It is difficult for managers to supervise employees directly. In such an environment where the team lacks daily direct interactions between employees, trust becomes a major key to success. Robert Jones and et al stated that “Trust is the single most important driver for the success of virtual teams”8. With low levels of trust, employees will engage in negative dysfunctional behavior and the team will suffer a low level of commitment, a lack of8 Jones, Robert; et al: Working Virtually: Challenges of virtual teams.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 13. Effective Virtual Teams 10 knowledge sharing and low team morale. For client facing virtual teams, customers can easily realize the lack of trust among team members. The behavior of virtual team leaders is a key factor in leveraging trust within the team members. Communication guidelines and standards are the most important tools for a team leader in building trust. Team leaders should communicate the team’s mission as well as the team objectives. One of the key factors of building trust is that poor communication is the cancer of trust. Team leaders should also appreciate the different opinions of team members and consult them whenever possible. Team members should participate in decision making. It’s helpful to build social relations between team members through chat sessions, outings and celebrations. Cultural differences are a major cause of the lack of trust between team members. Understanding the four dimensions of Hofstede is a must for all team members. Using those dimensions to understand the differences of between cultures will help team members understand the difference between themselves and their other colleagues. Those differences will be related to cultural differences rather than relating them to attitudes or ethical issues for example. The individual team members need to be selected differently than those for a traditional team. They must be capable of self-direction and feel comfortable working in an isolated environment. A record of integrity is very crucial. Virtual team members should be team players who find their own satisfaction in achieving big team goals rather than in achieving small self-goals. Team members should always follow what is happening in the team even if it does not fall in their responsibilities. They should be receptive to new ideas. Team members must realize the lack of face to face communication may cause a lot of misunderstandings. The face to face communication different components other than the message content such as the facial expressions and body language. Another important aspect in building trust is to educate employees how to effectively use the communication tools. E-mail etiquette and business writing skills must be improved for the team members. The skill improvement should be done through training as well as coaching. 6.3. Free Flow of Information The main cause of the virtual team challenges is the lack of daily communication. Team members should be able to use the proper tool to ensure the communication can as fluidly as possible. Problem solving and conflict resolution techniques are to be employed for more virtual teams more than for traditional teams. The team leader needs to decide the skill development opportunities among the team members. Team members should be allowed the time to get to know each other.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 14. Effective Virtual Teams 11 Also avoiding communication gaps is very crucial. Predefined meeting schedules help connect team members on a regular basis. 6.4. Creative Problem Solving The need for creativity in Addressing team challenges can turn those challenges into improvement opportunities. A good example lies in addressing the different time zone barrier. This barrier can be turned into a competitive advantage. A good example is a team that consists of a number of software developers working in Cairo with the test engineers working in Oregon, USA. The developers in Cairo can finish their work at 5:00 PM Cairo time and leave home. Two hours later at 7:00 PM (9:00 AM PST), the test engineers will start testing the newly developed software. When the Egyptian team members come back to work the next day, they will find the testing results and hence they can start analyzing them to fix defects detected by the test engineers. Another example is 24x7 support teams. Shifts are required to supply the service 24 hours a day. The use of geographically dispersed teams can be a better solution than having all team members working in night shifts. 6.5. Clear and Concise Objectives Because of the lack of face to face contact, team members must be able to work in the direction towards the team goals. Edwards and et al mentioned that “The detailed planning of team actions is critical to the success of a virtual team”9. Hence, the team needs to have a clear set of objectives. Those objectives must be created in response to the requirements of the customers and sponsors, and then they can be translated into a detailed action plan. Success criteria with accurate measurement tools should be used to track the action plan. The lack of discipline has a very negative impact of the performance of a team. 6.6. The Right and Secured Technology The selection of the right collaborative technology is an important factor for the success of virtual teams. Figure 1 introduces Partner Capital approach for the selection and planning of collaborative technology. Figure 1 Partner Capital approach109 Edwards, Abigail, et al. Implementing virtual teams: A Guide of Organizational and Human Factors10 Gignac, Francine. Building successful virtual teamshttp://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 15. Effective Virtual Teams 12 The selection of technology must be part of the corporate strategic plan. It is very critical to the success of the team to have the right tools to facilitate the integration of the team effort. It is not just about communication between team members, there are other functions that need the facilitating tools. Team members must have access to information whenever they need it. Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) can be implemented to help the supporting functions to better support the team members. The information and communications technology used must be secured. Information leaks can easily happen when using new technologies. For example, e-mail and electronic files can be penetrated by computer hackers. Another threat is viruses and worms that can attack computers and erase valuable data. A security system must be established to protect the company’s electronic assets as well as the internal communication and to create necessary backups. Another important aspect in electronic security is the employees’ awareness. The email sent to an employee can be forwarded to other parties that should not receive it. 6.7. Early Diagnosis of Problems The early confrontation of problems is more critical in virtual teams than in traditional teams. The potential to face hidden damages to the team morale can have worse impact for virtual teams due to geographical dispersion. The team members (and the team leader in particular) should identify the symptoms of the problems. Root-cause analysis is a very powerful tool that can be used.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 16. Effective Virtual Teams 13 6.8. Development of Team Culture Each team member brings specific cultural aspects into the team. The culture of each team member is of course different from those of other team members. This cultural gap is wider for virtual teams. It is extremely important that team members acknowledge the fact that they are individuals, and hence they can build on their own strengths and use those different strengths to build a complementary team. Embodying shared team culture will allow team members to identify themselves as a team, and accelerate the process of building trust. Appreciating the diversity of the team must be one of the most important competencies that the team member must acquire, and it should be part of the evaluation process of the team members. 6.9. Effective supporting Functions The virtual team has a number of obstacles that do not exist for traditional teams. This fact emphasizes the need for effective supporting functions. The need for technology experts that can facilitate the daily communication between team members is obvious. It is not expected that team members should have the knowledge of maintaining information and communication technology tools. Another supporting function that will need to be effective is the training function. The training needs are more critical for virtual teams. Supplying the proper training and measuring the training effectiveness is crucial for virtual teams.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 17. Effective Virtual Teams 147. Virtual Team Leader Competencies “The best executive is the one who has sense enough to pick good men to do what he wants done, and self-restraint enough to keep from meddling with them while they do it.” Theodore Roosevelt11A virtual team leader has a big challenge. The conventional methods of team leading practicesare not suitable for teams with members working in different locations or at different timeshifts. The team leader should create a communication network to provide virtual supervision.Traditional supervision is not practical when people are located in different places or work atdifferent working hours. An old philosopher once said that the leader’s role is ultimately tohelp people to lead themselves.A virtual team leader requires some special competencies that may be different from thoserequired for traditional team leader or may need the same traditional competencies but indifferent ways.Virtual team leaders should possess a set of competencies in order to become successful: 7.1. Leader Leaders create the vision to inspire and motivate subordinates which unleashes their inner energy and enthusiasm. Sherman stated in an article published in Fortune: “Contemporary leadership seems to be a matter of aligning people toward common goals and empowering them to take the actions needed to reach them”12. As aligning the virtual team’s goals and objectives is essential, leadership skills of the team leader are the answer. 7.2. Results Catalyst The team leader is required to improve the performance of the team. A result analyzer will get the performance improved without using the conventional authority powers. One of the most powerful competencies required for virtual team members is the ability to focus people on getting the required results. Organizations must achieve their business objectives, but it’s equally important how organizations achieve those objectives. “It makes more sense to empower people to get good results than to try to force them to get them”.13 7.3. Facilitator A facilitator is a person who puts together all necessary means to facilitate the teams’ work such as tools, information and resources. For the virtual teams, information and communication technology represents the core of the team to compensate for the lack of11 http://www.famousquotes.com/show.php?_id=104029112 Sherman, Stratford, “How Tomorrow’s Best Leaders Are Learning Their Stuff””, Fortune, November 27, 1995, page 92, Quoted in: Luthans, Fred “Organizational Behavior”13 Fisher, Kimball; et al. Distance Manager: A Hands on Guide to Managing Off-Site Employees and Virtual Teamshttp://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 18. Effective Virtual Teams 15 interpersonal communication. A virtual team leader should invest in the tools and means necessary to keep the team members connected effectively. 7.4. Barrier buster The team leader breaks barriers that hinder the team’s performance improvement. Virtual teams have lots of barriers that the team leader should have the capability to face and eliminate, or at least mitigate their impact. 7.5. Business analyzer The team leader should be able to see the big picture and can observe business environment changes and view them as opportunities. The team leader should also be able to understand the customer’s interests. 7.6. Coach The role of a coach is to help others find out their potentials, find out how to increase their accountability and draw a map for their career development. Good coaching helps improve employees’ competencies, and helps in finding out individual performance barriers; and hence it helps correct the unsatisfactory performance. Moreover, it helps diagnose behavioral problems. Coaching focuses on providing appropriate guidance and mentoring to subordinates. This sort of mentoring improves the personnel morale and self-esteem. 7.7. Living Example A good distant team leader set a living example. The team leader does not meet team members most of the time, which makes him have few opportunities to set an example, this leads to an important result that the team leader should use those opportunities wisely.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 19. Effective Virtual Teams 168. Conclusion and RecommendationsVirtual teams play an increasingly important role in multinational organizations. They areassigned tasks of strategic importance and high complexity. Virtual teams have advantagesthat the organization can build on and some challenges that should be carefully faced.Effective virtual teams can introduce a lot of precious competitive advantages. In order to beeffective, virtual teams must be handled differently from traditional teams. New skills,processes, standards and models must be established to overcome the barriers of virtualteams. In addition, the virtual team leader should have a number of competencies in order tomanage the team effectively.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar
  • 20. Effective Virtual Teams 17ReferencesAdler, Nancy J. (2002). International Dimensions of Organizational Behavior. Ohio, South-Western, Thomson Learning.Creating teams with an edge : the complete skill set to build powerful and influential teams. (2004). Harvard Business Essentials Series. Boston: Harvard Business School Press.Edwards, Abigail A.V.; Wilson, John R. (2004): Implementing virtual teams: A Guide of Organizational and Human Factors. Burlington, VT.Famous Quotes and Quotation, http://www.famousquotes.comFisher, Kimball; Fisher, Mareen D. (2000) Distance Manager: A Hands on Guide to Managing Off-Site Employees and Virtual Teams. McGraw-HillGignac, Francine. (2005). Building successful virtual teams, Boston, Artech House.Godar, Susan H; Ferris, Sharmila P: Virtual and Collaborative TeamsHP official website, http://www.hp.comJones, Robert; Oyung, Robert and Pace, Lisa (2005): Working Virtually: Challenges of virtual teams. Hershey PA.Luthans, Fred. (2005) Organizational Behavior, 10th edition. New York, McGraw-Hill.Pauleen, David J.(2004). Virtual teams: projects, protocols and processes. Hershey, PA: Idea Group Pub.http://www.facebook.com/waleed.naggar

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