Show your face when you communicate
Is your boss located in Paris? Are you working together with colleagues in Germany? Are you trying to motivate the Sales Team in Spain?
Virtual teamwork is becoming a reality for more and more people as the digital opportunities open up for more global organisations.
It calls for a new way of working together, where hierarchies are broken down and a different style of management comes into play. Digitalisation is playing an ever more important role in our everyday business lives and distance management is replacing face-to-face management as the modus operandi.
“The physical distance ends up becoming a mental distance.
Communication becomes the most important management tool
Frederik Lindhardt is the Founder and Senior Advisor of the company Virtual Rhetoric. He advises on digital management and communication and says that for successful virtual collaboration to happen it is crucial to focus on communication.
”It sounds basic - and it actually is - but through my work I have experienced way too often that executives only ‘inform’ the employees. The messages from the executives are only intranet messages, informing e-mails or distant notes,” says Frederik.
He points out that it is not catastrophic if the employee regularly meets his or her boss by the coffee machine, where they can catch up on the small things. But in the digital world, there is a need for much more in-depth communication.
“The physical distance ends up becoming a mental distance, which can make it harder for the executive to perform. Therefore, the virtual executive needs to focus on being both favorable and inclusive with his employees and co-workers – maybe more than he is used to.”
Distance Management calls for human presence
Virtual Management does not just mean that the newsletter is going online or the physical meeting has moved to Skype - it brings with it a whole new way of being together and collaborating across sometimes vast distances.
This has two significant consequences for the virtual executive. First of all, the management style must become more personalised.
“In the digital age we seek human contact. It has become the executive’s role to represent the human face of the company, both externally and internally. As an executive, you become a synonym for the company,” Frederik explains.
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Secondly, it is important that you stay personally connected to the employees.
”It can seem paradoxical to say that you should stay connected to your co-workers, when executives and employees increasingly are working apart. However, a closer connection can be established via a phone call instead of an e-mail, by sending a short video with a personal message as well as making sure you show your face and communicate widely,” he says.