5 Mistakes When Managing Virtual Teams
If you have a team of contractors then you know that there are challenges to dealing with multiple people. Virtual contractors have their benefits, but there are some challenges too. Learn about the challenges, and mistakes, ahead of time so you can create a powerful and productive team right from the start.
#1 Not Leaving Room for Error and Delay
Contractors are people, and that means they come with their own life challenges. They get sick. They make mistakes. They miss deadlines and they occasionally deliver work that needs revising. Not anticipating these delays is a mistake that can cost you. Build in time for errors.
For example, if you want your book to be launched on January 10th, make sure it’s ready by December 1st. This leaves an abundance of wiggle room for errors, delays and surprises. Worst case scenario, your project finishes on time, best case scenario, your project is completed early.
#2 Not Making Sure Your Contractors are Supported to Succeed
Make sure that your contractors have all of the information and support materials they need to get their job done the way you need it to be completed. This includes information on how to use any related technology, deadlines, and an outline of the process they should follow. Create documentation that shows and tells your contractors how to succeed.
For example, if you need them to manage your affiliate system then make sure they know how to access the technology and the process of paying affiliates, uploading materials and so on.
#3 Not Having a Clear Job Definition and Goal
Organization is the key to success when managing virtual teams. If you don’t have a clear goal of what you want each team member to accomplish and how they’re going to help you build your business, then it’s not reasonable to expect them to succeed. Decide, before you hire a team member, how they’re going to contribute and what you want to achieve.
#4 Not Streamlining Communication
Imagine emailing one contractor, Skyping with another, and using instant messaging and phone calls for a third. Keeping track of all of the conversations is difficult at best. Streamline communication by utilizing one primary tool to connect with and support your contractors. Keep time zones and communication needs and styles in mind when creating your system.
#5 Not Providing Feedback
Many entrepreneurs simply take what is given to them, pay the invoice, and then move on. Feedback is how you build relationships with your team members and ensure they understand what you need. Let contractors know what works well for you and what they did that you like. If there are corrections to be made or processes to improve, let them know that information too. Contractors aren’t mind readers. Give them the professional courtesy of feedback so the two of you can have a long business partnership.
Get organized. Create a plan and decide who you need to hire, what they’re going to do for you, and how you’re going to efficiently manage your virtual team. Leverage technology to organize and manage your virtual team in the most productive way possible.