How to Delegate and Communicate with a Virtual Team
Delegation requires skillfulness and when it comes to a virtual team, it can be a trifle challenging. As we see the trend of virtual workforce evolving even more, leaders need to be the entire more adept at communicating and delegating effectively.
To help you keep communication and delegation on spot with your virtual team, here are a few tips that can help you:
1. Familiarize Yourself with the Process
You cannot do something well if you do not understand it well first. Rather than muddle clumsily through something just to save face, it is always better and wiser to first familiarize yourself thoroughly with the process your firm involves is.
If you will not train yourself well first, you will be unable to train those who will come under your employ to work on your projects. Provide the required training first, communicate your expectation clearly, and make sure everyone gets them and then set the path for everyone to success.
You may consider rigorously testing a member or the team for the task at hand before the project begins or informally. This way you will know exactly how and whom to save your project from.
2. Assign Projects after Thorough Discussion
When you are about to delegate projects to a virtual team, you have to make it a practice to first discuss it thoroughly before you delegate tasks. Hold weekly discussions through one-on-one video calls to first discuss any questions, concerns, confusions etc the team members may have. Remember, clarity is success here.
As a business owner, you must also strive to keep everyone at the same level. For this, we recommend holding bi-weekly calls with each team member individually to keep a track of their current initiative status. You will not just form a stronger understanding and working relationship with them but also resolve firsthand any misconceptions they may have related to the project.
3. Use Task-Matching Communication Tools
You should know which occasion or project or work-related situation calls for emails, instant messaging or face-to-face video calls. The task at hand and the situation of the hour defines which communication tool you need.
The best tools for communicating with virtual teams are Slack, Skype, and Google Hangouts. For project management you can use tools such as Trello, Monday.com etc.
Regardless of which tools you use, one thing you need to be certain of; an absence of effective communication is the downfall of your business, especially when you have a remote workforce. When you do not correctly address the issues that arise with your virtual delegation, you create gaps for inconsistency and mistakes to occur.
It is up to the managers and team leaders to decide upon a communication channel that each team member should have an access to. This way, every member will know where he or she can gain a view of the shared work and what more they need to do.
4. Document and Organize
When collaborating on a project, you need to document everything. It is a vital to context project related data that everyone can refer to. In fact, you should introduce this as a standard practice for all the team members to document their challenges and efforts so that it is easy to identify any discrepancies or misunderstandings in the birthing stages.
Project management tools such as Trello, Basecamp and others allow you to upload documents, emails and other important files so that every member can view them as required. You may look upon these as a physical office whiteboard that keep each team member aware of the project developments and progress.
5. Delegate Efficiently
The problem with most remote startups is that most often they do not thoroughly utilize the potential and capabilities. We are often under the misconception that if an individual is unable to help us with an entire task, it is pointless to allow them to complete a part of it. This is a big misconception that we need to clear right now. You must know that each member of your virtual team plays an important part and it is up to you to make each one feel that they have an invaluable role to play. Fit in people where suited as per their skills.
If you have a complete virtual team under your employ, share the load equally among the members. For this end, you need to cross train them when you hire them so in case one member becomes unavailable without prior notice or if a members has too much to do, another can quickly step in to help. Making the members flexible with tasks makes your business foolproof against pivoting changes.
If you delegate efficiently and fairly and cross train, you also encourage the feelings of trust between your employees. They will have faith in your leadership when they realize you trust their capabilities.
6. Inclusivity is Key
When you have to make important decisions or have to complete tasks related to the project, make sure you involve all the concerned parties through emails. This way you will make each employee believe that they are equal participants of a project, they will treat the project as their own, will know what and who has completed how much and will also help the remote employees feel updated on each phase of the project as it proceeds.
7. Acknowledge Generously
Although we live in a very fast-paced world currently, it is still never too late to remind everyone of the few pleasantries that not even all the speed and technology can outdo. Nothing can encourage or boost your team members more than a few words of praise, encourage and appreciation. Let them know you are taking note of all the efforts they are putting in and how much you appreciate that.
Effective delegation also means to trust them and give them a platform to display their skills without overwhelming or overpowering them.
Once you have put all the above-mentioned tips in practice, you need to have faith in your own delegation powers and people you have chosen. As business owners, we are mostly hesitant to give the reins in someone else’s hands but we need to remember we cannot give someone the space to perform by restricting them.
Yes, it is true that we need to lay down the rules and create a structure path but at the end of the day we also need to remember that productivity doesn’t occur if we are constantly breathing down our team’s necks. So sit back, delegate well, communicate effectively, and reap the fruits of your patience and perseverance.