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Brain circuits

Five questions to help evaluate your virtual team building

Published 21 May 2021 in Brain circuits

Forming effective teams has new challenges when you have never met in person, learn how do it, and make sure the team has the bonds necessary to work together.

Top teams require personal connections to ensure cohesion and functioning on a higher level. This has been harder since teams across the globe have been forming and changing in a virtual world.

But there are measures you can take to create bonds even if your only face-to-face interactions are through a screen.

Here are five questions to ask yourself when evaluating your efforts to create effective teams in a virtual environment:

  1. Is there a space for casual interactions in our virtual workplace?

This is something that physical offices should be designed for as people come back to work. Remember that a large portion of the workforce is likely to remain virtual at least part of the time. Therefore, you need to create spaces such as chat boards and interest groups, where employees can interact casually, especially with other people outside their immediate work teams.

Research has shown that these casual interactions fuel creativity and productivity within companies.

  1. Are we using emoticons?

Although many view these as childish “stickers”, they can serve a role in conveying the emotion that is lost through the virtual ethers. Sometimes it can be hard to tell if someone is joking or serious and these graphics actually can help teams understand each other a little better.

  1. Are you asking each other about last night’s dinner?

Now more than ever, with the lines between home and office blurred it’s important to make sure you are checking in with each other about how life is going beyond work duties. We have gone through a long period of stress and people who are isolated from each other need emotional support.

  1. How are you sharing energy?

Emotional contagion is an actual phenomenon. If someone on the team is getting burnt out, this can easily spread to other colleagues. It’s important for leaders in a virtual environment to regularly check the emotional temperature of the group and take action to spread positive energy and limit negative energy.

  1. Are you still using video chat?

People are becoming exhausted from constant video meetings, but it is important to make sure you are still getting some face-to-face time with each other because non-verbal cues are very important to bonding and understanding each other. The key is to strike a balance and not overdo it. If the video isn’t really serving a purpose, turn it off.

 

Authors

Jennifer Jordan

Social psychologist and Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD

Jennifer Jordan is a social psychologist and is Professor of Leadership and Organizational Behaviour at IMD. Professor Jordan’s teaching, research, and consulting focus on the areas of digital leadership, ethics, influence, and power. Professor Jordan has received specialized training and certifications in lie- and truthfulness-detection, as well as in conflict resolution within organizations. She is Program Director of the Leadership Skills for the Digital Age program.

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