How to lead in a virtual workplace

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With a flexible workforce, telecommuting gaining in popularity, and business being done from all corners of the globe, how can businesses break through the distance barrier to achieve their goals?

Founder of AIM Leadership Camille Preston argues in her ebook, Leading virtual effectiveness, that leadership needs to change to accommodate for the increasing virtual workplace.

“To be effective in the business world, individuals must be able to build relationships quickly and remotely. Virtual leaders learn who they are working with, what matters most to this person, and how to set this person up to be successful,” writes Preston. “Virtual leaders have the ability to do this with anyone, anywhere.”

The changing nature of the workplace means individuals and teams can become disconnected. However, for a business to achieve its goals, a shared goal and vision is crucial. This is where the need for virtual leadership surfaces.

Preston outlines four strategies for virtual effectiveness:

  1. Care to collaborate
  2. Connect to communication
  3. Filter to focus
  4. Pause for perspective.

Care to collaborate

Know your team, colleagues and associates. Preston says virtual leaders should take the time to understand who they are collaborating with, what their goals are and how your business goals can team up to create a shared vision.

Connect to communicate

Essentially, this means virtual leaders should take the time to listen to learn, before communicating. In this way, you can ensure communication is on point, important to both parties, and maximising everyone’s time and effectiveness.

Filter to focus

In an age of increasing emails, it’s important to know what’s crucial and what can wait. Virtual leaders should filter incoming information, know what to focus the bulk of their time on, and what can help them achieve their business goals.

Pause for perspective

Just because your business is go, go, go, doesn’t mean you don’t need the time to stop and reflect. A virtual leader understands the value of taking pause, reflecting on ideas and knowing where they are going next.

Integrating these strategies into your management practices will ensure you can best lead your business into the virtual workplace. As Preston writes, “Practice makes permanent”.

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