Main Tasks of the Virtual Team Leadership

Subject: Leadership Styles
Pages: 2
Words: 555
Reading time:
3 min
Study level: School

Introduction

During the ongoing pandemic of COVID-19, many employees worldwide were forced to work from home. For this reason, in the recent two years, the issue of virtual team leadership has become immensely topical. People who work in virtual teams cannot communicate in person, and hence, it might be challenging to escape misunderstanding and confusion regarding the distribution of responsibilities. This way, the critical task of a virtual team leader is to facilitate communication between the team members and coordinate the allocation of resources and distribution of duties.

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Main body

One of the criteria that determine the success of a virtual team is its size and structure. As for the size, the Center for Creative Leadership (CCL) recommends including from 5 to 9 members in a group to optimize its efficiency (Leslie & Hoole, 2016). In addition to that, according to the CCL’s research paper, it is necessary to determine the core and peripheral team members (Leslie & Hoole, 2016). The difference between core and peripheral members is that the former is highly involved in the working process, whereas the latter’s functions are supportive (Leslie & Hoole, 2016). From this, it could be inferred that such a division of core and peripheral positions ensures that employees will not be overloaded with responsibilities and duties.

The view of the CCL on the optimal size of the team is supported by Johnson and Johnson (2014), who claim that the smaller the group is, the better. However, while Leslie and Hoole (2016) argue that the perfect number of team members is 7, Johnson and Johnson (2014) believe that there is no universally ideal size, and each case should be considered individually. One way or another, all these scholars share the view that there is no need to make a project group too big. This opinion is based on the fact that the sense of responsibility for the final outcome and personal importance in smaller groups is significantly higher (Johnson & Johnson, 2014). Furthermore, the larger group is, the more difficult it is for group members to communicate with each other. These points are crucial for virtual teams because members feel the distance between them, do not have a sense of collective identity, and cannot communicate effectively (Serine et al., 2020). This way, a virtual team leader should establish optimal conditions in which group members can communicate easily.

As has already been noted above, the virtual team should include several members who are more involved in the project and those who perform what others say and assist them. In the words of Johnson and Johnson (2014), there should be low- and high-power members. In this regard, the virtual team leader should ensure that the group consists of people who perform duties and those who coordinate what should be done in their sphere of responsibility.

Conclusion

To conclude, the popularity of virtual teams has increased due to the development of digital technologies and the lack of ability to interact in person due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In general, the leadership over traditional and virtual teams has little difference because, in both cases, a manager should ensure that a team will complete a project properly and on time. Still, virtual team leaders should encourage cooperation between employees and establish conditions in which they will not feel emotionally distant from each other.

References

Johnson, D. W., & Johnson, F. P. (2014). Joining together: Group theory and group skills (11th ed.). Pearson.

Leslie, J. B. & Hoole, E. (2016). How to lead virtual teams: The power of leveraging polarities. Center for Creative Leadership. Web.

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Sedrine, S. B., Bouderbala, A., & Nasraoui, H. (2020). Leadership style effect on virtual team efficiency: Trust, operational cohesion and media richness roles. Journal of Management Development, 40(5), 365-388.