Leadership in Virtual Teams using Computer Mediated Communications
There is a new need in leadership skills among those who work in virtual teams.
My area of research is agentic theory in virtual teams: specifically, the emergence of leadership (empowerment) in virtual teams and the skills that are required of successful virtual teams.
Virtual teams (VTs) are defined as those which use computer mediated communications (CMC). Leadership behaviors in these settings relies upon clear communication (in emails, teleconferencing, and videoconferencing) and monitoring group processes.
In the empowerment of virtual teams, leadership roles emerge clearly and are matched to goals. The group individuals express their distinct leadership potentials. The group develops by appropriate self-disclosure to establish trust. Next the group establishes communications protocols and articulates its goals clearly; it monitors its own progress toward achieving those goals, communicates regularly, sharing information.
One way to optimize your virtual team is to redefine the leadership roles, making sure everyone understands their role and those of the others on the team. In this way you are going to establish a complementary leadership style, and train them to self-lead (including the art of clear communication). A second way is to have an outside observer check in to see that everyone understands their tasks and their roles. There are more options, such as using a communications manager.
My area of expertise is in defining roles and goals and observing group dynamics and cycles (such as developing trust or including conflict as more information for synthesis). I inform my clients about the art of professional communications to include task and relationship-oriented leadership communication.