Successful teams from a distance


What does it take to create and sustain high-performing teams, whether people are working in separate, remote locations or in the same corporate workplace? For some, this is a new way to operate. We know that working in teams is not new to business. What is different and new are the conditions making teamwork a competitive business necessity. Trust is an important component of many interpersonal relationships and interactions, whether face-to-face or virtual. The high-performing team is characterized by high levels of trust among members.


As in all forms of communication, technologically mediated communication carries a tone. Since individuals tend to be less inhibited when communicating technologically, virtual team communication has the potential to become harsh and provoke conflict. Given the complexities of dispersed team members, the team leader must be hypervigilant first about ensuring that his or her messages and directives are clear and understood, and then about being aware of the nuances of responses and feedback.


Culture is hard to manufacture, so don’t force it. Keep communication lighthearted, and phrase messages as suggestions and recommendations. Winning crews, share some common characteristics. Think of teamwork as a process of partnering with a distinct group of individuals to accomplish an objective meaningful to all.