Join Bob McGannon for an in-depth discussion in this video Understanding habits, part of Managing Virtual Teams.
I am not always a morning person. Most people who know me understand that if you want to have a productive conversation you're better off waiting until at least nine AM providing I've had my cup of coffee. In addition, if I'm on a conference call, and my team doesn't hear me ask a question after a few minutes, someone will typically say something like "Bob, either you're distracted, "or something about this conversation "isn't sitting right. "Which is it?" My team understands my habit of asking many questions.
So they wonder when I am quiet about a topic. I bring this up because habits and patterns can be sensed even when people cannot see you. It can be helpful to understand some particular habits when you are talking about a virtual team because you are literally talking about something that can affect function, productivity, and quality. If you're going to understand the habits of your remote employees, you have to first find out more about who they are.
Here are a few questions specifically designed to help. What do you consider yourself: a morning, afternoon, or night person? When you need inspiration, what do you do? When do you typically seek collaboration? Before you start a project, during the project, or just before you finalize things? If you get interrupted, how long does it take you to get back into your working grove? How often do you find you need to take breaks? When you get stuck on something, what do you do? When is it too early to contact you? When is it too late to contact you? Now that you have a few questions in your toolbox, let's talk about the when and the how.
In truth, it's never too late to have this conversation. But, there are some good triggers such as when you're hiring a new employee, you're about to start a new project, or your team is back from the holidays and it's the start of a new year. Now, when it comes to how to have this conversation, ideally it takes place at a meeting with every team member in attendance. You can use a virtual conference room or simply use a conference line and have your team call in. You might even consider sending out the list of questions you will be asking ahead of time so they have time to prepare.
Also, as you schedule this meeting, keep in mind time zones and any religious or national holidays. which we talked about in previous videos. Lastly, make sure you share your own habits as well. when you have this conversation with your team, it's important for you to be an active participant. If your employees know your patterns, it can help them be more successful in how and when they communicate with you. Understanding habits can help you set expectations, create better working relationships, improve collaboration, and improve communication.
And, it can make those comments like "Sorry guys, "haven't had my coffee yet." seem a little less trivial.
Discover how to build rapport, set mutual expectations, communicate, connect, overcome conflict, get work done, and grow the team. Also included is a look at the top five challenges managers face in leading remote teams and helpful solutions that will get your team on track.
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