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Virtual Leadership Ms.Iruni Satharsinghe
Reading Masters in Business Analytics (UOM)
Bachelors in Human Resource Management
(USJP)
What is the Virtual
Leadership?
• Virtual leadership is a form of leadership in which teams are
managed via a remote working environment.
• Like traditional leadership roles, virtual leaders focus on
motivating employees and helping teams accomplish their goals.
• Virtual leadership focuses heavily on improving collaboration
through communication, accountability, and transparency.
The importance of virtual leadership
The pandemic has forced much of the workforce into remote working, and for
many employees, this is the first time they have tried working from home.
However, even before the pandemic, working from home was an increasing
trend with many saying the pandemic just sped up this process:
 4.7 million people were already working remotely from home before the
COVID-19 pandemic. (Flex jobs)
 74% of companies plan to shift some of their employees to remote working
permanently after COVID-19 (Gartner)
 Before the pandemic, 52% of global employees work remotely once a week,
and 68% do so at least once per month (Owl Labs)
 77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from
home. (CoSo Cloud)
Essential virtual leadership skills
1. Stay in contact with remote employees
This could take any number of forms, such as setting up weekly catch-up calls or having
frequent team meetings. No matter how it is done, the virtual leader needs to be proactive about
staying in contact with the entire team and staying abreast of what they’re working on, how
projects are going, what obstacles they’re facing, and what they need.
Schedule weekly 1-on-1 meetings with employees, this allows them to:
 Get help on projects they are working on
 Discuss projects and goals
 Build connections with you
 Get support on their development journey
2. Work
expectations
and goals
Working remotely offers employees greater flexibility, not
only on where they live but also on what exact hours they
work. For example, some employees may prefer to work
later in the day and take a longer lunch, so that they can
workout or take their dog for a walk. Virtual leaders should
be aware of this and not set unrealistic expectations.
When teams are not physically in the same location,
often the best way to measure employee's performance
is through outcomes and goal completion. Specifically,
measurable goals are crucial, and tracking them
frequently can help to ensure team members stay on
track and that the team leader is able to identify
problems before they become catastrophic.
Having realistic expectations about these goals, time
employees should be working and communicating those
expectations will help everyone stay happier in their
roles.
3. Clear and concise communicators
 Effective communication with your team is another major hurdle in virtual
leadership. There’s a lot more room for misunderstandings when you don’t
have the benefit of tone, facial expressions, and body language to help you
decipher what someone means when there’s any ambiguity.
 That means there’s a higher chance of having miscommunications if the
managers and team members in a virtual team are not excellent
communicators. Communications must be clear and concise, even more so
than they need to be otherwise. Provide enough detail and direction to
avoid being ambiguous and eliminate any confusion.
 Be aware that not everyone on your team or in the virtual meeting will have
English as their first language, as well as different cultural backgrounds.
Keep these in mind when running meetings and involving the team.
4. Lead with empathy and foster trust
 To be an excellent virtual leader, you need to contact your team members at an
emotional level, and completely honest and transparent when sharing data and
status updates (even unfavorable information) to maintain credibility and
preserve the integrity of the data being shared.
 Check in with your team individually to see how they’re doing, particularly as
some may find adjusting to remote work difficult. Ask about their families, their
hobbies, or something interesting they saw on social media. Empathize with
them to show a shared understanding - letting them know that you see them as
a person, not just an employee.
 When you lead with empathy, you create an element of humanity in an
otherwise detached virtual environment. This helps eliminate the sense of
isolation that virtual workers can experience, allowing them to feel like they’re
part of a live community.
5. Use the right communication method
 Use appropriate channels for your communication and set expectations on how the
communication channels are to be used. Discuss when it’s appropriate to use instant
message, email, and virtual meetings. Understand when a meeting is necessary versus a
quick announcement.
 Nowadays, virtual leaders have a range of technology at their disposal, but there’s a time and
a place for each mode of communication. The key is to match the medium with your message.
These are the appropriate messages for each medium:
 Instant messaging: Programs like Slack and Teams are best for quick communication needs,
like checking project statuses, asking questions, or coordinating schedules.
 Email: When you need to communicate something to be referenced later on, like long, detailed
messages or directions, as well as messaging multiple people at once.
 Video: Connect face-to-face through video whenever you can.
6. Encourage open dialogue
 If you’ve established trust, you’ve set everyone up for an open dialogue. A recent
study by HBR of 50 financial firms confirmed that leaders of dispersed groups must
push members to be frank with one another. One way to do this is by modeling "caring
criticism.“
 When delivering negative feedback, use phrases like "I might suggest" and "Think
about this." When receiving such feedback, thank the person who offered it and
confirm points of agreement.
 A tactic for conference calls is to designate one team member to act as the official
advocate for honesty, noticing and speaking up when something is being left unsaid
and calling out criticism that’s not constructive. On the flip side, you should also
occasionally recognize people for practices that improve team communication and
collaboration.
7. Make yourself accessible
 A virtual team leader must be willing to make
themselves accessible and available to team
members. Accessible leadership means that
you are easily approachable, like having an
open-door policy in a physical office.
 Unfortunately, many managers are seen as
distant, who only distribute assignments from
their office. This won’t work for a virtual team.
Leading teams that are physically apart
requires you to close that gap. Let your team
know that you’re available to talk and support
them, whenever they need.
8.Give your team the
right resources
 Employees will be at their most productive
when they have the right resources and
environment to be at their best.
 Consider giving each employee a budget to
buy equipment for their home setup.
Companies such as Shopify are taking this
approach, by giving each employee a
$1,000 stipend to buy supplies while they
work from home.
https://youtu.be/90qO9RmkvEY?si=df12VGiNVA7veIp-
Activity 01
 Prepare the Summary what you have learned from the
video of Virtual Leadership.
Formative Assessment
Write Answers for the following questions.
•How do you ensure clear and consistent communication with your team
in a virtual environment?
•What tools do you use to facilitate effective communication, and why
did you choose them?
•How do you handle misunderstandings or miscommunications in a
virtual setting?
•How do you ensure all team members are heard during virtual
meetings?
•What strategies do you use to provide feedback and recognition
remotely?
Thank You!

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Virtual Leadership and the managing work

  • 1. Virtual Leadership Ms.Iruni Satharsinghe Reading Masters in Business Analytics (UOM) Bachelors in Human Resource Management (USJP)
  • 2. What is the Virtual Leadership? • Virtual leadership is a form of leadership in which teams are managed via a remote working environment. • Like traditional leadership roles, virtual leaders focus on motivating employees and helping teams accomplish their goals. • Virtual leadership focuses heavily on improving collaboration through communication, accountability, and transparency.
  • 3. The importance of virtual leadership The pandemic has forced much of the workforce into remote working, and for many employees, this is the first time they have tried working from home. However, even before the pandemic, working from home was an increasing trend with many saying the pandemic just sped up this process:  4.7 million people were already working remotely from home before the COVID-19 pandemic. (Flex jobs)  74% of companies plan to shift some of their employees to remote working permanently after COVID-19 (Gartner)  Before the pandemic, 52% of global employees work remotely once a week, and 68% do so at least once per month (Owl Labs)  77% of remote employees say they’re more productive when working from home. (CoSo Cloud)
  • 4. Essential virtual leadership skills 1. Stay in contact with remote employees This could take any number of forms, such as setting up weekly catch-up calls or having frequent team meetings. No matter how it is done, the virtual leader needs to be proactive about staying in contact with the entire team and staying abreast of what they’re working on, how projects are going, what obstacles they’re facing, and what they need. Schedule weekly 1-on-1 meetings with employees, this allows them to:  Get help on projects they are working on  Discuss projects and goals  Build connections with you  Get support on their development journey
  • 5. 2. Work expectations and goals Working remotely offers employees greater flexibility, not only on where they live but also on what exact hours they work. For example, some employees may prefer to work later in the day and take a longer lunch, so that they can workout or take their dog for a walk. Virtual leaders should be aware of this and not set unrealistic expectations. When teams are not physically in the same location, often the best way to measure employee's performance is through outcomes and goal completion. Specifically, measurable goals are crucial, and tracking them frequently can help to ensure team members stay on track and that the team leader is able to identify problems before they become catastrophic. Having realistic expectations about these goals, time employees should be working and communicating those expectations will help everyone stay happier in their roles.
  • 6. 3. Clear and concise communicators  Effective communication with your team is another major hurdle in virtual leadership. There’s a lot more room for misunderstandings when you don’t have the benefit of tone, facial expressions, and body language to help you decipher what someone means when there’s any ambiguity.  That means there’s a higher chance of having miscommunications if the managers and team members in a virtual team are not excellent communicators. Communications must be clear and concise, even more so than they need to be otherwise. Provide enough detail and direction to avoid being ambiguous and eliminate any confusion.  Be aware that not everyone on your team or in the virtual meeting will have English as their first language, as well as different cultural backgrounds. Keep these in mind when running meetings and involving the team.
  • 7. 4. Lead with empathy and foster trust  To be an excellent virtual leader, you need to contact your team members at an emotional level, and completely honest and transparent when sharing data and status updates (even unfavorable information) to maintain credibility and preserve the integrity of the data being shared.  Check in with your team individually to see how they’re doing, particularly as some may find adjusting to remote work difficult. Ask about their families, their hobbies, or something interesting they saw on social media. Empathize with them to show a shared understanding - letting them know that you see them as a person, not just an employee.  When you lead with empathy, you create an element of humanity in an otherwise detached virtual environment. This helps eliminate the sense of isolation that virtual workers can experience, allowing them to feel like they’re part of a live community.
  • 8. 5. Use the right communication method  Use appropriate channels for your communication and set expectations on how the communication channels are to be used. Discuss when it’s appropriate to use instant message, email, and virtual meetings. Understand when a meeting is necessary versus a quick announcement.  Nowadays, virtual leaders have a range of technology at their disposal, but there’s a time and a place for each mode of communication. The key is to match the medium with your message. These are the appropriate messages for each medium:  Instant messaging: Programs like Slack and Teams are best for quick communication needs, like checking project statuses, asking questions, or coordinating schedules.  Email: When you need to communicate something to be referenced later on, like long, detailed messages or directions, as well as messaging multiple people at once.  Video: Connect face-to-face through video whenever you can.
  • 9. 6. Encourage open dialogue  If you’ve established trust, you’ve set everyone up for an open dialogue. A recent study by HBR of 50 financial firms confirmed that leaders of dispersed groups must push members to be frank with one another. One way to do this is by modeling "caring criticism.“  When delivering negative feedback, use phrases like "I might suggest" and "Think about this." When receiving such feedback, thank the person who offered it and confirm points of agreement.  A tactic for conference calls is to designate one team member to act as the official advocate for honesty, noticing and speaking up when something is being left unsaid and calling out criticism that’s not constructive. On the flip side, you should also occasionally recognize people for practices that improve team communication and collaboration.
  • 10. 7. Make yourself accessible  A virtual team leader must be willing to make themselves accessible and available to team members. Accessible leadership means that you are easily approachable, like having an open-door policy in a physical office.  Unfortunately, many managers are seen as distant, who only distribute assignments from their office. This won’t work for a virtual team. Leading teams that are physically apart requires you to close that gap. Let your team know that you’re available to talk and support them, whenever they need.
  • 11. 8.Give your team the right resources  Employees will be at their most productive when they have the right resources and environment to be at their best.  Consider giving each employee a budget to buy equipment for their home setup. Companies such as Shopify are taking this approach, by giving each employee a $1,000 stipend to buy supplies while they work from home.
  • 13. Activity 01  Prepare the Summary what you have learned from the video of Virtual Leadership.
  • 14. Formative Assessment Write Answers for the following questions. •How do you ensure clear and consistent communication with your team in a virtual environment? •What tools do you use to facilitate effective communication, and why did you choose them? •How do you handle misunderstandings or miscommunications in a virtual setting? •How do you ensure all team members are heard during virtual meetings? •What strategies do you use to provide feedback and recognition remotely?