How do you coach leaders to lead and inspire their employees when they rarely see their employees in-person? How have your coaching clients upgraded their virtual management skills since the coronavirus has transformed how we work overnight? How are your coaching skills helping leaders who had to suddenly switch to managing a geographically dispersed team?
The competencies of leading virtual teams are learned—we are not born with them. Many leaders tend to rely on what comes naturally and what has always worked for them. To be a peak performer, what does the leader of today need to learn?
We know from over thirty years of research from Kouzes and Posner (author of the Leadership Challenge and the Leadership Practices Inventory, which we use as a key multi-rater tool in our College of Executive Coaching training programs) that "encouraging the heart" is linked to being an exemplary leader who gets the best results from teams.
Leading virtual teams is now essential, and it comes with significant challenges. How do we operate effectively without the in-person connection and the natural spontaneous, less structured meeting opportunities of being in the same physical office? Somehow, we need to maintain key performance measures and constructive team dynamics such as easy communication, sharing of information, prioritized task focus, regular feedback and warm connectedness.
How has "encouraging the heart" been especially important recently? This question reminds me of one of the biggest changes many of my coaching clients have been grappling with over the last two months. It's the new intensity of focus on leading virtual teams, which includes encouraging the heart, nurturing strengths, setting high standards and providing regular contact and feedback.
To help our clients obtain outstanding team performance, we can use the coaching approach to help our clients find their own individualized best strategies to fine tune their communication skills, leverage their emotional intelligence strengths, and embrace technological platforms to create the same high-performing virtual teams that in-person teams produce.