In this day and age, the epoch of social media and virtual sharing, global teams have even more tools at their disposal to connect and communicate, whether they’re in a different time zone, on a different coast, or in a different hemisphere. But even though technology can help us feel like we’re gathered in the same place at the same time, our attempts at global leadership often get lost in translation.
We took up this topic with Arden’s experienced coaches. Did they have any tips and tricks for inspiring from afar? Find out what they had to say about their best methods for motivating a global team, even from 3,000 miles away.
Tip #1: Get to Know Each Team Member’s Preferred Language
Effective leadership hinges on developing meaningful relationships with those you lead. Motivating from afar makes this a challenge from the get-go, as getting to know a team that’s scattered across the country or globe is definitely more of a challenge. Your job as leader is to figure out the would-be water cooler talk, even though there’s no physical water cooler that you all share.
Getting to know someone’s preferred language isn’t literally the language they speak but more of their personal communication or workstyle. Say you have one team member who works best in terms of deadlines. He keeps an organized timeline of what efforts will go into effect when and how progress in coming along. When you reach out to this person, make sure that you speak to him in his preferred style; acknowledge the task or initiative at hand in respect to its deadline and the greater timeline.
Maybe you notice that another person on your global team is more relationship driven, as she signs off on her emails with “Headed to the beach this weekend!” Take the time to acknowledge this when you have your routine sessions. Discussing hobbies and interests is a great way to get to know someone better and further open lines of communication.
Tip #2: Use All of the Tools at Your Disposal
Whether you’re a three-hour drive or a three-day plane ride away, employing the tools that will help get you and your team members in touch, with you and with one another, is paramount. This could be the tech programs we mentioned at the start or something more rudimental.
If video screen sharing is possible, definitely take advantage of the opportunity to interact with the team on a deeper level when you can. If it’s not, have their picture up while you’re talking, especially if this is your first interaction. Putting a face to a voice helps us gain and better develop a sense of their personality.
Tip #3: Meet in Person at Least Once a Year
So much is taken away from communication when you only speak virtually, especially if talking on the phone is your primary means of communication. You can’t see the other person’s body language, make eye contact, or pick up on any of the subtle clues that often speak louder than the words we have to say.
That’s why it’s so important to find a way to get everyone in the same room, even if it’s just once a year, say for your annual offsite for strategy planning. You’ll be surprised by how much progress you can make in one in-person meeting with all team members in attendance compared to yearsof virtual communication.
Being able to put an image and shared experience to each person helps team members feel more comfortable sharing their ideas and reaching out to one another for help.
Tip #4: Get into a Global Leadership Mindset
Leading a team from afar comes with its own unique challenges. Want more tips and tricks from Arden or think you could benefit from partnering with an executive coach to make your global team’s processes more effective?