Leading a team of diverse employees with constantly changing needs and limited resources is hard enough. Scatter those employees across different geographic areas, where face-to-face contact is infrequent, priorities are constantly shifting and there is little time to address their individual needs, and you can begin to understand why leading a virtual team is one of the most difficult jobs in business today. It takes a special breed of leader to get the job done right.
Not just anyone can lead virtually. It takes someone with the right mix of technical, interpersonal, and communication skills to lead a virtual team that can be successful. One of the most important and fundamental characteristics of a successful team is trust. And, research on teams indicates that familiarity is a major contributor to building co-worker trust. Here are a few familiarity trust builders you can use to lead from a distance and take Key Steps to…

Close the Gap… Foster Trust

1. Talk with them regularly by telephone.
2. Schedule face-to-face meetings periodically, whenever possible.
3. Use every available minute when you’re visiting on-site offices to see and talk with team members. These face-to-face connections are important in bridging the distance when people are not physically working together.
4. Use all available technology (e-mail, fax, voice mail, telephone, web conferences, videoconferencing, instant messaging) to stay connected and “visible” within your team.
5. Make a point to remember birthdays and special occasions (exams, critical deadlines, etc.).
6. Acknowledge special accomplishments of your team members and associates and…

“be the difference that makes the difference