Merge's Blog

Strategy #2 for effectively leading your virtual team

Last week I started a new video series on leading a virtual team and my first tip was to set office hours, specific blocks of time in your calendar when your team members could call and expect to get your “live” on the phone.  Today’s strategy to get the highest level of performance from your virtual team members is an expansion of last week’s idea.

Schedule one-on-ones

Schedule weekly one-on-ones.  Give each member of your virtual team one full hour every week on your calendar for a one-on-one discussion.  Just you and the employee, either on the phone or on a video call.  This one hour allows both you and your employee to cover a variety of topics,.  You can really talk through issues that don’t get discussed simply because they don’t see you at the office every day.

And one very important thing: NEVER cancel a one-on-one.  Because cancelling a one-on-one is the fastest way to build resentment on your team.  Sure, if you ask to cancel, your staff will probably agree.  But that’s only because you’re the boss.  Don’t ever fool yourself into thinking that you can skip a one-on-one with a member of your virtual team because there’s nothing to discuss.  There’s always something to discuss!

Remember, remote employees miss out on the natural grapevine of information that exists in physical offices, whether it’s about the company, general announcements, or specific changes.  A one-on-one meeting gives you the chance to fill them in.  But it also address all the little things that naturally come up over the course of a week.    Trust me, you can’t afford to miss even one of these weekly meetings.  Pick a time that always works for you and make it sacred on your calendar.  If you absolutely have to, reschedule the one-on-one, but never ever cancel.

This is #2 in my series of simple strategies to lead a virtual team, and I’ve got another one coming to you next week.  But I want to hear your ideas and experiences.  Share with us what you’re doing to get the most out of your remote employees.  Please add your thoughts below.

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