Five Skills of an Effective Virtual Leader


Companies around the world are now embracing their teams working virtually. The working-from-home trend was growing in popularity prior to COVID-19 because of the flexibility it offered employees, and because in many cases it is more cost-effective for companies. It is convenient option for people who are having difficulty traveling to work, or for people who have other responsibilities outside the office (working mothers, people who are taking care of their family, etc.).

However, virtual teams do have challenges to face when working-from-home.It takes discipline and accountability to be able to carry an online job and perform well. Leaders have the responsibility to not only handle the usual business matters, but also manage a team in the virtual workspace.The leader is the one that guides the virtual professionals into performing their designated jobs make sure that deliverables and expectations are met.

There are five (5) important skills an effective virtual leader must possess to succeed in leading a team and functioning properly in their dispersed locations.

1. Technologically Savvy

A virtual leader needs to be on par with the dynamic technology in our world. Working mainly in front of computers requires the skill of understanding and knowing the different platforms, software, methodology, and systems. Virtual leaders need to equip themselves with the knowledge and skill of adapting and learning new systems, integrations, and processes. This way, they can pass on the knowledge and skill to their teams and work together in succeeding in their respective fields.

2. Online Presence

This is a skill that is more of a condition. Being online, available for consults, and decisions is something a virtual leader must be able to do regularly. The virtual team needs to know they are accessible through various mediums like email, chat, text, or call/video call when necessary. A leader must be able to respond to issues and concerns of the team the soonest possible time – this way, the dispersed team will feel they have support while working. Online presence works both ways. This is also one way of promoting trust among virtual employees.

3. Communication Skills

An effective virtual leader must have good communication skills. Speaking and writing well is an important skill for an effective virtual leader because those are the only means of communicating instructions and updates. Since the work situation is virtual, any email communication, text, or chat conversation must be clear and concise. Good communication is essential between the virtual leader and the employee for effective management to ensure any issues, for example, schedules, computer issues, or environmental conditions are minimised.

4. Coaching Skills

Coaching is another important skill a virtual leader must-have. This is because, during coaching, employees or team members are allowed to understand their strengths and weaknesses when it comes to working. Before a coaching session, a virtual leader needs to be able to properly evaluate an employee and match it up with the goals of the company. The result of the evaluation is the basis of the goals that the employee needs to work on, improve, or maintain.

5. Resourceful

Being resourceful is an important skill an effective virtual leader must-have. This is for situations when a new tool, software, or system is being rolled out or being utilised, the virtual leader must be an expert in a short time. Not all companies who opt to allow employees to work virtually have the time and resources to conduct a proper training session. This means the virtual leader must be able to help the employees in finding solutions elsewhere online.

Virtual leaders are leaders who are not working at the office, managing a team who may or may not be working from a different location, and is maintaining discipline and productivity at the same time. Not everybody can be an effective virtual leader. But to be able to become an effective virtual leader, one must be able to adapt, understand, and be quick in coming up with a resolution to every situation.

For a discussion on working virtually and being an effective virtual leader, please call or email me.

Related Articles