The WHY Matters
No matter what the task that you undertake, the more motivated you are, the more successful you are likely to be. In the working world, we know that motivation is, in large part, driven by a meaningful sense of purpose, and especially a purpose for your virtual teams. If employees understand and believe in the purpose of their work, the higher their levels of engagement.
Yes, the “why” matters in real terms: less absenteeism, increased productivity, and improved performance.
It has always been a challenge for leaders to imbue their employees with a sense of the importance of the work they do. But in today’s world where so many employees are working virtually, the challenge is even greater. It’s harder for leaders to know their team members personally, harder for employees to interact directly with the customers, and harder to inspire employees virtually.
Unfortunately, there are no tricks or shortcuts. The same effective teamwork principles apply regardless of whether the team is on site or virtual. The pain is just quicker to manifest when teams are remote.
Assess the Clarity of Your Team’s Purpose
For both virtual and in person, to keep your team motivated and connected to the meaning of their work and to the rest of the team, you need to know how well your team understands and believes in its fundamental purpose. Certainly, you should be on the lookout for warning signs that their commitment is lagging, but the best way to know is to ask the team directly. Or, if your team struggles to share their thoughts and feelings, try a confidential pulse survey.
It is better to know how much “catch up” you need to do than to continue on a path of increasingly greater distance from the goal of purposeful work.
A Quick Note from the Trenches about Purpose at Work
Not all organizations are purpose-driven. It is one thing if you are trying to cure cancer or change the world, but some teams just need to better align how work gets done with clearer goals, roles, success metrics, rewards, and behavioral expectations – not exaggerated mission statements that do not ring true regarding why they joined the company or what their work is truly about.
If you are struggling to create purpose for your team, it is fair to ask yourself if you are pushing it too far.
A Few Simple Steps to Create a Clear Purpose for Your Virtual Teams
As a leader, you can begin to build a sense of team purpose, connections, and success with a few simple steps:
The Bottom Line
Despite the difficulty of connecting with your remote team and defining a purpose that speaks to each member, it is your job as team leader to do so. You know it matters regardless of if the team is in the office or remotely spread across the globe.
To learn more about how to create a clear purpose for your virtual teams, download 7 Immediate Management Actions to Create Alignment with Goals
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