Virtual team is groupof individuals who work in different locations in different countries aroundthe world and virtual team has become vital role in every leading organization.
Team members are dispersed all over the world with different time zones,cultural differences but they are well connected through advanced technology likevideo conference, teleconference, emails, instant messenger and fax that keepseveryone on track within the team. Virtual team and its member’s facesdifferent challenges like communication lag, trust issues, technologicalissues, poor participation where team leader has to step in and lead the teamin the right direction. It is important for a team leader to lead the team withgood motivation, clear focused goals, proper communication rules and commonmindset. Virtual team leader should be well disciplined and he should haveclear goals, right strategies, good interpersonal and communication skills tosolve the issues and leads the team for best results. Figure: 1 Virtual Teamsaround the globe (United stated, Germany, Japan Virtual Teams, 2015)Virtualteam leader link all these team members to work in unity, share commonorganizational goal and to bring best out of them. The performance goals ofthis virtual team will be interdependent and member of the virtual team willhold themselves accountable for the completion of the shared objective (Vennapoosa,C.
2009).Typesof Virtual teamsInan Organization, virtual teams work together from different countries withdifferent time zone but not from the same location and these virtual teams are eithertemporary or permanent based on the length of the projects. Virtual teams arenot only into information technology industries, it also serves different areaslike manufacturing, health care, marketing, research and development.There are 8 types of virtualteams depending upon the role and objective of the team.
· Network teams· Parallel teams· Project development teams· Functional teams· Service teams· Action Teams· Management teams· Offshore ISD teamsThe above mentioned teamhas its own pros and cons and every team function at a different level (Reddy,C. 2017).Virtualteam Vs traditional work teamAtraditional team consists of members that are separated by distance but unitedby a common goal. But Virtual teams are wide spread members across the globe indifferent geographies, time zones and cultures.
The interactions among thevirtual team members are mediated by the information and communication technology(MSG Management Study Guide, 2017). Virtualteam has a complex structure and leading the team requires extra effort but inthe traditional team the team leader has in person contact with the members forfostering teamwork. These direct contact opportunities are lost in virtualteam, which is important to promote team work and to solve the issues among theteam members (Kahai, S. 2008).
______________________________________________________________________________Prosof virtual team Consof virtual team____________________________________________________________________________· Decrease use of resources Technologyissues· Wide availability of skilled people Communication gaps· Good work life balance Decreasedteam bonding· Saves time in meetings Decreasedcohesiveness· Increased productivity Unevendistribution of knowledge· Decreased cost in travel Differencein time zone· Available 24/7 work pattern TrustissuesItis important to follow the policies, guidelines and standard of practice in thevirtual team to make the team successful. By following these standards, it willhelp the team and its members to overcome communication, trust, and time zoneissues and to improve level of understanding and trust among the team members (Reddy,C. 2017).Typesof Technology used in virtual teamInthe business world, virtual teams are very common and business can be done inany part of the world. Technology plays important role in connectingorganization and its members to do business around the world. Common technologytools that are widely used by the organizations and its team members are;· Collaboration tools – Slack, spark,Microsoft teams, grape and red booth· Project management tools – Microsoftproject, primavera, base camp· Document storage tools – Drop box, Googledrive, share point· Meeting tools – WebEx, Go To meeting,Google hangouts · High end video conference – Cisco,polycom telepresence, Logitech life size· Audio and video conference – Skype, join me, blue jeans· Instant messaging tools – Skype forbusiness, Jabber, Same time, stride· Document co-creation tools – Googledocs, Prezi, Concept board· Social network tools – Yammer, Chatter,Jive· Scheduling tools – Doodle, Schedule Once,Timeanddate.Technology saves timeand makes business more effective and it connects all the dispersed members ofthe virtual team around the world (Manager, T. C.
2013). With the help oftechnology, team members with great talents are well connected with theorganization and this helps the team members to be more productive.Virtualteam strategy Figure:2 Virtual Teams (United stated, Germany, Japan VirtualTeams, 2015)Tolead a virtual team it requires different types of skill set, but the successof any virtual team relies on major three key factors; results, process andrelationship. Results relate to a desire to strive for a goal, Process relatesto their desires for predictability and influence and relationship is the needfor rapport among the team members. Successful team leaders will keep theirhigh performance team members and when they are out of balance, the teamdeclines in their performance. Team leaders may use skills like ease off onresults, beef up team processes, build relationships, increase appreciation andboost empathy (Savitz, E. 2012).
Worksystems should be well defined with proper standards for the team members tomake it effective and to complete the task within the ability of the member. Virtualteam needs multiple communication tools to establish communication between themembers which gives the feel of togetherness. Routine team meetings throughvideo conference calls gives feel of being in the office to the team members todiscuss about deliverables which gives more freedom and avoids anymisunderstandings among the team members. Team members with different time zoneshould work overlapping hours to complete the task on time and with the rightpeople it is always possible (Baldassarre, R. 2015).Virtualteam effectivenessGetting the right teamwith well balanced members are not easy in the virtual team.
The right teamshould have people with good communication skills, able to work independentlyand emotional intelligence. Team should consist of enough members and not withtoo many that may confusion among the members. Most effective teams are withless than ten members (Ferrazzi, K. 2014).· Ground Rules · Information exchange· Scheduling· Multiple commutation lines· EmpowermentVirtual team managerestablish the rules to the team members and make sure everyone understands andfollows it. Team member should exchange the information through proper andright technology with maximum efficiency to avoid any delay. And to maintainthis efficiency the whole team should schedule the meeting at the same time tosolve any outstanding issues and to preplan for upcoming projects.
Team membersshould connect with other for professional and personal reasons which givestrong bonding between the members. Team leader should give enough power to theemployees to make their own decision related to work but final approval shouldbe cleared only through team leader and this will help to improve members workflow and all the virtual team members to take responsibility of their job. Eachmember in the virtual team should be more dedicated towards their work. Thereare procedures and rules for the team members to follow for effective team workhabits (Root, G. N. (2017).Challengesin virtual team Figure3 Challenges of working in virtual teams, (What are the challenges of working in virtualteams, 2017) Mostof the successful companies have expanded their brands all over the world andexpansions are managed by the virtual team. Organizations are well connectedwith their employees with internet tools and such virtual connections isimportant to the team members who are part of the same project, in order todiscuss ideas, views, challenges and to help the project be successful.
Eventhough such teams play huge role towards the success of the organization, theyalso face their own challenges. Any problem within the team will cost more toorganization and it is important to solve the problems without any delay to getteam stronger and to achieve desired results (4 Virtual Team Challenges andSolutions, 2017).Thereare different challenges in the virtual teams and depending on the type of teamthe challenges vary few common types of challenges in the virtual teams are;· Difference in time zones· Cultural difference· Communication lag· Trust issues· Technological issues· Routine work· Work and personal life imbalance· Physical distance· Work ethic problems· Diversified teams· Loss in productivity· Lack of personal connectionAnychallenge in the team will slow down the work and can cause network failureamong the team members.
Team leader should resolve the issue without any delayand implement strategies to avoid issues in future (Advantages and Challengesof Virtual Work Teams. (n.d.
). Importance of leadershipTeamleaders in an organization plays vital role in overall success of theenterprise. Team leaders are important to execute the vision for theorganization and to set the tone for the team members. Effective team leadersshare some of the managerial duties that help in developing the business togrow. Team leader provides guidance to all the members to fulfill their rolesand responsibilities. This includes training and instructing team members andtaking corrective actions when needed. Team leaders make sure that team membersunderstand any new information given by the organization which may impact theirspecific roles (Joseph, C, 2017). Team leaders in the virtual team should bemore transparent in communication by communicating regularly with the teammembers and phone meeting with individual team members.
Patience is key for theteam leader, as virtual environment is full of challenges. Technology issuesmay slow down the team work which may delay the outcome result. Team Leadershould control his own irritations and upset and lead the team in aprofessional way. This quality will help the team leader to build goodrelationship between the team members and creating good rapport among them.Quarterly or annual in person meetings will be helpful to build goodrelationship between the team members.
Team leader should focus on result,monitor the members performance, measure the outcome and award them based onthe results. Team leader should know about culture values, communication modeland work preference of his team members who works in different time zones andin different countries, provide them support as needed. Team leader shoulddemonstrate excellent skills in technology, to assist his team when there is anissue with communication technology. Team leader should be able to learn andadapt new skills to overcome obstacles and to perform effectively (Six SkillsYou Need for leading virtual teams. (n.
d.). Figure: 3 Leadership Qualities (leadership characteristics for successfulglobal virtual teams, 2015)Leadershould create vision, strategy, shared cultures, values and make the teammembers grow.
Team leader should build mutual relationship with the teammembers to motivate, inspire, and act as a coach for the development of theorganization (B, 2015).Goodteam leaders will ensure that the team members’ morale remains high and workersare motivated to perform well. Team leaders can impact morale among the membersby boosting the sense of the confidence and trust among the workers that givespositive approach towards the jobs and organization. Team leader also foster anatmosphere of creativity that can lead to a new innovation. They also promoteessential values which is important to the success of an organization. A leaderwith honesty, integrity can be a good role model for his team members to ensurethat they will act in the same way (Joseph, C, 2017).
Roleof leader in virtual teamLeadershould possess different skill set and should exhibit executive skills to meetnew challenges in global teams which are totally different from traditionalteams. Leader should facilitate and direct the team in right direction withoutany obstacles and lead the team in a different way. Teamsacross the globe work differently and it is challenging for the team leaderwhen it comes to decision making. It is the difficult tasks for the leaders ofglobal teams that the decision making process should not be affected orinfluenced by the culture. Virtual team leader should lead the team in a different way thana traditional team, roles and responsibilities should be assigned to the teammembers with clear instructions. Team leader should be willing to try differenttypes of decision making process at the different levels in a project. When adecision is made by the team leader, he implements on the team based upon thelocation and type of the team.
Team leader should build trust among teammembers and it should be built in a different way, it takes long time in thevirtual team to build the trust due to lack of face to face conversation. Communication is the key to lead the virtual team and teamleaders has less influence when communicatingthrough videoconference. Positive body language and gestures will enhance thequality of speech which improves effectiveness of the communication. Teamleader should have different level skills to communicate with diversified teamsand different geographical teams due to different language, time zone, culture,work style and work ethics (Meyer, E. 2010). Conclusion In this new business world, every leadingorganization with different sectors are widely using virtual team for thedevelopment of the business. There are lots of challenges among the teammembers like limited personal interactions, cultural changes, communicationlag, powerlessness, internal politics, conflicts, trust issues and lack ofcommitment.
Team leader with effective leadership skills can lead the team withproper strategies and policies which will lead the team and the organizationtowards positive growth (MSG Management Study Guide, 2017).