Managing a dispersed team is not the easiest thing to do. In fact, few managers have studied his techniques. Managing an on-site team can be difficult at times. What to do with employees who are scattered across different regions or work remotely? How to build proper team morale, keep employees motivated or even supervise their work?
Managing a Dispersed Team – What is it and What does it Consist of?
Managing a dispersed team, simply put, consists in organizing, planning, controlling and motivating employees who work in different locations to achieve the intended goals of the organization. Nowadays, we are dealing with this type of management more and more often. What it comes from?
First of all, from the development of civilization and technology, as well as from the global spread of business areas. It is also often easier for us to find specialists who come from another city or country. And yet remote work, with the current development of IT, is not a problem. The latest reports show that currently as many as 80% of specialists in international companies work remotely. Such work has its pros and cons. On the one hand, it brings a lot of savings and flexibility, on the other hand, it makes managing the team much more difficult.
Managing A Dispersed Team – The Most Common Difficulties
The greatest difficulty in managing a dispersed team is the DISTANCE itself. Distributed teams work in the same way as traditional task forces, except that they have difficult contact with each other, which is often only virtual or sporadic. So, they are working on the same task, but from different areas. This can cause transmission or communication errors. It also happens that project supervisors report to other local departments of companies or project teams composed of people employed in various organizations. The entire management process can take place from several different offices, cities or countries. In addition, there are sometimes differences related to different working hours, e.g. due to locations in different time zones.
Division in the team, natural formation of “subgroups” and less integration of employees;
Less sense of belonging to the company resulting from working outside the organization’s premises;
Difficult division and flow of tasks;
Misunderstanding, errors in reception, frequent lack of insight into the emotions of the other person – resulting from remote work;
Difficulties inadequately assessing work, the manager cannot observe employees “on a daily basis” under standard working conditions;
Cultural or national differences of employees.
Managing A Dispersed Team – Effective Advice
As it is easy to see, managing a dispersed team is not the easiest one. However, this does not mean that it cannot be learned. More and more trainers conduct training related to this type of management. You can also cite some key tips that will be useful to any manager who has to deal with remote workers.
1. Taking Care of Appropriate Work Tools
Modern programs and an application can make it much easier not only to communicate in a team, but also remotely manage tasks. So, it’s worth remembering about Skype, Wunderlist, Trello, Redmine or other platforms of this type. And it’s best to stay up to date with the latest news in this area.
2. Clear Definition of Goals
Well and clearly formulated goals are the basis for the success of a distributed team. It is extremely important that, despite the distance, employees know: what, how and why they should deal with, and for what general goals of the organization they should work. Poorly formulated goals can lead to wrong work, as well as mutual disappointment and frustration.
- Presenting the vision of the entire project (explaining what is being pursued?);
- Defining the main roles of individual team members and appointing people responsible for the activities;
- Setting milestones and breaking down the project into smaller tasks;
- Setting the execution time (i.e.: what, by when and by whom?);
- Indication of the effects that should be achieved at a given stage of action;
- Settlement and monitoring of current tasks.
3. Team Integration
As far as possible, it is worth bringing about a real meeting of employees at least once. This has been proven to significantly improve further communication. It would be best to organize regular meetings, e.g. once a year. In a situation where this is impossible, you should take care of regular, virtual meetings of the entire team.
4. Daily Communication
It is worth developing the habit of daily communication in a dispersed team. Sometimes a short 15-minute conversation at the beginning of work or an email with a summary sent at the end is enough. It is best at the very beginning to clearly define all forms and channels of communication, as well as the applicable rules in this respect. For example, you can set out the ranges of topics discussed by phone or e-mail, as well as the hours of regular contacts.
5. Joint Discussions and Problem Solving
Some decisions are easier to make together than alone. In addition, team consulting and taking their views into account greatly influences integration.
6. Organizing Teleconferences, Videoconferences and Online Training
Sometimes there are topics that all employees of a given team should participate in. If we have something to convey to a wider group of people, it is worth organizing tele- or videoconferences for them. Being able to see or hear a person increases commitment and trust. When we want to teach employees something new, we can think about a special online training.
7. Winning Employee Loyalty
It is extremely important that employees who work remotely are loyal to us. We are not able to control their behaviour on an ongoing basis. Well, if they would fulfil the basic assumptions of the company and be integrated with it, instead of acting against it. Employees will become more loyal to us if we give them a credit of trust at the beginning and we manage fairly and fulfil given assumptions or promises. It’s worth reading more about how to earn employee loyalty.
8. Managing a Dispersed Team – Motivating
Praise for employees and appreciation of their work must not be forgotten. Motivation is one of the most important elements in managing a dispersed team. The more that we are not able to mobilize an employee who works remotely on a regular basis. Discover the top 10 ways to motivate employees.
9. Establishing General Principles of Work
Managing a dispersed team will facilitate the joint determination and writing of work rules. The rules of work may concern, among others: set dates of meetings, tools and forms of communication used, working hours or roles performed.
10. Appropriate Knowledge and Approach
The manager of a dispersed team should have appropriate knowledge related to building relationships, interpersonal communication, processes taking place in the group, work tools and, above all, people management. He should be educated all the time and be up to date. Also, it is good for him to have the right approach to the team. Payday loans Las Vegas can help you to hire a good manager as giving you a loan with no credits. He must be a flexible, open-minded person, willing to delegate duties and responsibilities, relationship-oriented and supporting the development of employees. Most importantly, he should observe the flow of information and processes within the group. Thanks to this, he will be able to choose the most effective tools for the job.