Eric Handler headshot Written by: Eric Handler

How to lead your team virtually

Think about your workplace today for a second. What’s so different about the faces you see—those names attached to the long list of emails you maybe haven’t gotten to read and respond to yet? 

Well, for one, some of them may be completely new, but the biggest thing is that you likely haven’t seen any of those people in person in nearly two years now. 

Many companies are making a permanent shift to a virtual workforce, and others who have made plans to open the doors to their offices have seen those tentative open dates change multiple times now.

How do you keep your team motivated and make them feel like they have the right leaders in place?

As you look to lead from behind a computer screen, you can start by: 

  1. Leading with empathy. We’ve all had to make a transition. We used to drive into work and see the people we worked with every day, and have conversations with them. It was easier to talk through issues or questions when we could just walk over to a desk. Empathy and flexibility will be key for employees who are learning to create a work/life balance in a place where they now have to do both. 
  2. Make your meetings count. We all have a limited amount of time in a day. Leaders who are worth following know how to use that time wisely, delegate tasks and make sure there are only results-driven meetings. No more meetings that could’ve just been an email.
  3. Virtual culture is company culture. Just because you aren’t in office anymore doesn’t mean your company’s values change. Make sure your employees know what you’re doing and understand why they are doing it. Lead with a clear sense of direction and make sure your employees understand your vision. 
  4. Continue to meet 1-on-1. It’s important as you lead from a distance that you make sure your employees still understand their importance to you. It also helps each of you hold each other accountable. 
  5. Communicate. You need to be able to clearly communicate with your team, and while it may take an extra effort at times, these are the things that make you a leader worth following. 

Leading has never been easy, and they especially aren’t at this current point in time, but ensuring you have a plan in place can help your team stay motivated in a virtual environment.