The corona crisis has not only contributed to the digital transformation of the working world but has also shown that good team leadership should be a dynamic process that must be continually adapted to meet new requirements. When it comes to virtual team leadership, it is crucial that managers have both conventional management skills as well as the ability to handle the dynamics involved in virtual working relationships. To achieve this Dr. Monika V. Kronbügel, CEO of Global DiVision, recommends that managers use the relevant communication channels, such as email, telephone, or web conferences, and work to build trust across the distance.

Corporate culture is an essential factor in successful, mutually trusting teamwork, whether in the office or remotely. A competent team leader will ensure that employees are well-prepared for the planned change processes, thus contributing to the long-term success of an agile team. It is important to create the technical, organizational, and HR framework conditions.

The existing management concept must be reviewed, at the latest in the run-up to introducing virtual team leadership. It is important to have a “leaders as hosts” mentality as this leverages employees’ identification with the team and company. At this juncture, the “leader as hero” principle should already be a thing of the past. Managers should be established as moderators who bring people together, working with them to solve complex problems instead of exercising control over them.

In the long term, professionalizing virtual teamwork delivers clear benefits. Putting together teams based on members’ specialist qualifications instead of their locations allows companies to utilize local expert knowledge on a global level; to benefit from project work that continues around the clock; and to save costs thanks to lower office rental and power costs. This in turn generates competitive advantages, allowing business processes to be optimized. In addition to this, time and geographical flexibility plus the inherent opportunities make virtual work – and thus the employer – attractive to employees.

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