Influencing Virtual Teams | Hassan Osman

Summary of: Influencing Virtual Teams: 17 Tactics That Get Things Done with Your Remote Employees
By: Hassan Osman


In the age of virtual workspaces, strong and clear communication is crucial for a remote team’s success. ‘Influencing Virtual Teams’ by Hassan Osman offers valuable insights into improving communication among such teams. This book summary explores effective tactics such as the use of the word ‘because’, establishing appropriate deadlines, and designating specific team members for tasks. It also emphasizes the importance of trust within a team, building team morale, and efficient strategies for handling communication channels like voicemails, emails, and meetings. The author provides practical guidance on managing remote teams and ensuring their overall success, increased productivity, and enhanced collaboration.

Communication Tips for Remote Teams

In this book summary, we learn about the power of the word “because” in influencing people, the importance of establishing deadlines, and designating specific individuals for each task.

To strengthen communication with members of a virtual team, one word can make a difference: “because.” An experiment in the late 1970s showed that people waiting to use a photocopier had greater success in cutting into a line when their request included “because.” It is not necessarily the reason that influences people, but the word itself. Therefore, using “because” in all dealings with team members can enhance communication, whether by voicemail, email, texting, or in-person communication.

Deadlines are another tool to help remote teams reach their goals. Without a sense of urgency, there is often a natural tendency to procrastinate, so deadlines force people to take action and be accountable. However, it’s important not to set unrealistic deadlines, as this may cause frustration and resentment in team members. Seeking feedback on how long a task will take and indicating the specific date, day, and time the work is expected to be completed can be effective ways to establish deadlines for remote teams.

Designating specific individuals for each task is also an effective way to empower team members and ensure accountability. Rather than assuming someone will step up and take responsibility, it is better to ask for volunteers or select someone for each task, which can lead to a sense of ownership and motivation. If a task requires multiple team members, specifying who will be responsible for the task and who will assist can also lead to greater efficiency and effectiveness.

Overall, using the word “because,” establishing reasonable deadlines, and designating specific individuals for tasks can help to improve communication, accountability, and productivity in remote teams.

Managing Autistic Workers

Specialisterne, a Danish software manufacturer, employs people with autism. The founder, Thorkil Sonne, shared his experience in managing these workers with Harvard Business Review. Sonne emphasized the need for precision and directness in communication, as individuals with autism struggle to interpret nonverbal cues. This approach is also applicable to remote teams, particularly when a team is global. Sonne recommended being 100% sure of what you want your team to do and using precise language to avoid any confusion. Writing down tasks is essential to gaining commitment and showing authority. Verbal requests should never be relied upon, even if it seems like the task will be carried out. This method of delegation is effective in ensuring that tasks are completed both in-person and during virtual calls.

Building Trust and Likeability in Remote Teams

Establishing trust and likeability is crucial for remote teams to perform well. This summary provides practical tips on how you can improve trust and likeability among team members through clear communication, showing reliability, encouraging social interactions, and getting to know your team members on a personal level.

As remote work becomes more prevalent, trust and likeability are increasingly vital for a team’s success. This summary highlights tips on how to improve these qualities in your remote team. Trust is defined as a combination of reliability and likeability. It is also essential for team members working collaboratively. The absence of trust leads to reduced performance levels and impacts morale.

Improving reliability begins with assessing your team members’ technical and collaborative skills. To avoid misunderstandings, clearly communicate your expectations, and deadlines for each assignment. Follow up with your team to assess progress and ensure that everyone is on the same page. Remember that team members take cues from you, so set a good example by fulfilling your commitments on time.

Likeability can be enhanced by building personal connections with your team members. While this may be challenging for remote teams, simple steps like informal conversations can make a world of difference. Ask about your team members’ families, hobbies, and other interests. Share something about yourself, but be careful not to cross any sensitive boundaries. Encourage social interactions by starting or ending meetings with a few minutes of casual talks. Messaging apps and email can also be utilized to share interesting articles or videos.

Finally, a positive attitude is essential, particularly in stressful times. As a team leader, it’s crucial to remain optimistic to keep the team motivated. Encourage a sense of cohesion by organizing team-building exercises. When possible, gather everyone together in person to build physical bonds. Overall, developing trust and likeability requires effort and intentionality. By following these practical tips, you’ll create an environment of mutual respect, teamwork, and increased productivity in your remote team.

Effective Communication Strategies for Achieving Task Compliance

This book excerpt offers practical communication tips for ensuring employees complete tasks on time. To begin, managers should ask team members to repeat the task assignment and due date to guarantee compliance. It’s essential to explain the project’s importance, emphasizing that everyone’s job is at stake if the employee fails to complete the task. Sending an email summarizing the task assignment soon after the conversation is crucial. Additionally, effective voicemails should state the caller’s full name, company, date, time, purpose of the call, and a call-to-action. Emails require precise and concise language, with call-to-actions upfront and highlighted. By employing these strategies, managers can attain task compliance and maintain a productive work environment.

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