Be More Intentional When Leading Virtual Teams

Updated: May 25

It's been over a year since many of you were forced into leading your team virtually. It's much easier to lead a team when you're all in the same room, building or city, but that's no longer a reality for many. Now is the time to reflect on what has gone well and review the fundamentals.

1. Make Expectations Clear - Ever heard of “out of sight, out of mind”? This can go both ways. Get together and lay out continued expectations with your teammates in terms of goals, results, communication, response time, hours, etc.

2. Engage Intentionally and Regularly - Decide the best channels for communication. We recommend connecting daily in some way, then at least weekly in-person/video/over the phone. Schedule time on your calendar to connect and don't cancel an opportunity to connect with your people.

3. Build Trust - This goes for employees who are sitting right next to you and those who are on the other side of the globe. After you’ve set up the expectations, follow-through. Have on-going dialogue on how things are going. If you're uneasy about anything, address it immediately.

4. Support Core Values - The actions and behaviors that support your core values become your culture that we define as “the way we do things around here in order to fulfill our mission.” Praise those behaviors when you notice them. Easier said than done virtually, so you will have to intentionally search for positive behaviors over email, video and phone.

5. Have Fun - We're sure you've come up with lots of fun activities over the past year, but you may have run out. The CTO at Starbucks starts her calls with games like Kahoot! or Pictionary. And don't be afraid to drop the video occasionally. Consider ph-walking meetings, where everyone plugs on their headsets and walks around the block during a phone meeting.


The number one thing you can do to keep great people is to build solid relationships with each of them. You must be more intentional in a virtual environment. Want other ideas on this subject, listen to on the How To Be Awesome Podcast: The Four Keys to Leading Successful Virtual Team with Darleen DeRosa, author of Leading at a Distance: Practical Lessons for Virtual Success.

Shout out to Monica Silvestre for the great photo!

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