How to Build and Maintain Virtual Relationships

How to Build and Maintain Virtual Relationships
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Build and Maintain Virtual Relationships
While many of us have had virtual team members for years, who could foresee that, suddenly, almost every team other than first responders would become virtual?

Building and maintaining interpersonal relationships without the handshake, without the opportunity for impromptu discussions, and without the chance encounters is not easy. If we hope to sustain a healthy and high performing workplace culture, we need to be able to build and maintain strong virtual relationships.

Effective Communication as a Core Competency for Virtual Teams
To work effectively together, all teams need strong, savvy, respectful, and caring leaders. For virtual teams, the need is even greater. Virtual workplace settings require that leaders articulate clearer goals, establish more meaningful priorities, define sharper roles, and give more frequent feedback – whether via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or FaceTime.

Now more than ever, leaders need as their core competency the ability to communicate effectively.

The Touchstones of Effective Communication in a Virtual Environment
|A good way to check to see if you are doing all you can to communicate effectively with your team is to evaluate the conversation after each virtual interaction. Grade yourself. Be as objective as you can to assess what went well and what didn’t.

Beyond whether you followed the agenda, met your objectives, and set clear follow-up items and timelines, ask yourself if you did the following – because the following will have a direct impact on the workplace culture you foster and the degree of employee engagement. Consider if you were:

  • Clear and Thorough
    Keep your comments simple and to the point. Include only information that is relevant in order to avoid confusion and ambiguity. Your message should follow an organized, logical structure and emphasize a few major points. Check to see that your team members understand you clearly and then answer any questions they may have.

    Working meetings are meant to be a conversation not a lecture. Invite everyone around the “table” to offer their thoughts. The best decisions are made when a variety of viewpoints are shared.

  • Actively Listening
    Do not tune out or prepare your next statement when others talk. This is your opportunity as a leader to hear and understand what others are thinking. Show that you value their input by respectfully listening and asking open-ended questions to ensure you understand what matters most.
  • Genuinely Concerned
    Leaders demonstrate their empathy for their team by being polite and respectful. Simply ask how your people are doing and how you can support them. Each team member is an individual; they all have different backgrounds, different life experiences, different talents, different interests, different motivators.

    The more you can get to know them personally and what they care about, the more they will be engaged.

The Bottom Line
Like any team, building strong virtual teams is all about building strong interpersonal relationships. The best communicators have the best chance of creating a culture where teams, in-person or virtual, can thrive.

To learn more about how to build and maintain virtual relationships, download Leading Virtual Teams Challenges and 3 Winning Communication Strategies

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