Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Building Cooperation in Virtual Teams: General Guidelines

Many of us work in virtual teams so often that it can be easy to forget how to make the best out of these relationships. Cooperation is key to truly productive and effective virtual team working, here are a few tips for building cooperation and collaboration:

• Meet face-to-face early in the life of the team (if at all possible) to build relationships, shared ownership and personal commitment; meet face-to-face at regular intervals if you can
• At the beginning of a project focus on establishing relationships, and not just assigning tasks; promote a shared sense of identity and belonging
• Establish a climate of enthusiastic, open, honest, and respectful communication in which all ideas are valued, listened to and explored
• Quickly demonstrate your capabilities, your integrity, and your caring for others
• Maintain a sense of presence through frequent and thoughtful communications, and fast responses
• Problem solve rather than assign blame; deal with problems in a calm, confident way
• Establish transparency, keeping promises, confidentiality, and mutual accountability as key operating principles
• Develop shared understanding of the different contexts in which team members are working - the local constraints
• Keep the whole project visible to team members, not just the parts
• Work together to determine the best way to handle conflict on the team
• Recognize and celebrate the achievements of the team

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