“The best leaders don’t know just one style of leadership—they’re skilled at several, and have the flexibility to switch between styles as the circumstances dictate.” Daniel Goleman
There are leadership styles which work and those which don’t achieve the results desired. Then there are purposeful mixtures of styles which produce amazing results. However, to be a great virtual leader, you must carefully select the style which works best for you. If none of them work, take a risk, and create a combination of your own. Once you are able to see the results of that choice or combination of styles, you know you are on the right track.
Here is a short list of leadership styles and the response achieved for each style.
|LEADERSHIP STYLE||RECEPTION OF STYLE BY TEAM MEMBERS|
||The directive leader is usually seen as the micromanager, who dominates and closely supervises everyone.|
||The authoritative leader is seen as the intuitive but firm manager who sets standards and provides clear directives.|
||The peacemaker, who is concerned with ensuring that harmony between staff and employees is ever present.|
||The politician who enforces that a democracy is always the deciding factor. Every vote counts.|
||The overachiever who demands that all subscribe to a high standard of excellence. This leader has no tolerance for dead weight.|
||The motivational and inspirational guru who encourages the development of the employees. The aim of such leaders, is to facilitate improvement in the performance of team members.|
Perhaps you already utilize a micromanagement approach to your team members. If you are, this method will serve only to frustrate you and have you and your team appear as inefficient. How can you accomplish your own goals as the leader if you are micromanaging your entire team?
The style of leadership you select to practice is also dependent on the type of people who you manage. Their personality traits and their purpose on your team are important factors to consider as well. Therefore, you need to give sufficient time to allow your team members to focus on what they are doing. Also, invest time in the unique abilities of the members of your team. Surely, you would get the results you’re looking for.
Consequently, to exhibit great virtual leadership, you need to respect the value of the time of your team members. You need to give sufficient time to allow them to focus on what they are doing. They need that time to focus on utilizing their talents, skills, and abilities to achieve the amazing results which you long for.
Additionally, you must acknowledge that people work best when they are engaged in tasks which they love to do or are very good at. How efficient can someone who writes excellent blogs be at web design? That person may be able to generate the content needed for the web page. However, he or she may not be as effective for producing the eye-catching graphics which can pull potential clients to your site.
Let’s apply this to having a virtual assistant paired with a sales representative. If you are in sales, you know that you need to be going out there and building relationships with clients and prospective clients alike. However, if you must spend time searching for the potential clients, this would be counterproductive.
This is where your virtual sales assistant becomes an asset. Your virtual sales assistant could do your prospecting and prepare you lists of the prospects which you are interested in seeing, within a particular area. That way, you can focus on sustaining and improving your relationship with your clients. You’ll also get to focus on the activities which encourage such.
Perhaps using a 90/10 angle might help you put this into perspective. For argument sake, let’s say you have a sales representative grossing US$100000. If this person spends 4 hours every day seeking out prospects, then how much sales is he actually getting done daily? For an 8 hour day, this person is overpaid for doing work which is way below his or her pay grade.
You could have easily hired a virtual assistant to do the research and pay at an hourly rate of US$7 instead. The virtual assistant, whose skills are being properly utilized can gather the requested data. Meanwhile, your Sales Rep can go out there and confidently carry out his task, equipped with his assistant’s research.
Great Virtual Leaders Invest in their team members talents and abilities. Your team members can sense if you value their output. Consequently, if you want them to produce the best output they can, you must listen to and address their needs. It is your job, to practice proper virtual leadership by empowering your team members to do their jobs.
Once they see that you are willing to address their concerns and provide them with access to the right tools, you will see results. You need to harness the best skills and talents of all the members of your team and bring it together to function as a single unit.
Great virtual leadership is rewarded further when you express thanks for the efforts of your team. Expressions of thanks allow your team members to feel appreciated and valued. Thus they are motivated to use their talents toward the enhancement of the product you offer.
To be a great virtual leader it’s wise to have your meetings when you have as many of your members present as possible. Ensure that you have an agenda for your meeting and that it is structured. Have clearly identified goals.
Furthermore, be proactive and ask your team members what it is they need to boost their productivity. Most importantly provide them with the tools to do so. Remember your team needs to feel empowered.
For the effective management of virtual teams, it is advised that you use screenshot monitoring or movement monitoring. Such productivity tools will ensure that you can monitor progress without actually interrupting the creative process of your team members. Instead of having to call to find out what they are working on, you can simply log into your productivity tool and see what the progress is.
Subscribe to a virtual leadership style which will give you the result you wish to achieve. Avoid being the type of leader who is always in the way of progress with all these questions and meetings and such. However you can’t be the type of leader who simply allows everyone to do as they please – you’ll be trampled. Create your combination and you will be sure to generate positive results from your virtual team.
The 90-10 Rule is not just about you! It’s about utilizing it to help those around you be a part of that movement. Harness these unique talents of your team members in the areas which they have the opportunity to produce stunning results. You don’t want your web designer to get caught up in the drudgery of data entry. He won’t be productive. Team members, who you lead need to feel passionate enough to wake up every morning. And that passion should be driven by a need to use their talents in areas where they can shine.