Top 5 Reasons to Over-Communicate with Your Virtual Team

Even for teams in which remote work was an integral part of their prior functioning, the imposition of the fully virtual team changes the landscape in dramatic ways.

At Gratitude Network, we see firsthand how solid leadership can make a huge difference for a team. We’ve seen teams thrive in difficult situations—and we’ve also seen teams crumble when leadership and communication fail to keep up with the shifting needs of the team.

In order to manage the changes created by our socially distant world, successful leaders must be purposeful and aware of the messages they are sending to their teams.

Here are our top 5 reasons great leaders over-communicate with their remote teams—especially during times of change and uncertainty.

Reason #1:

Virtual burnout is real.

Virtual (or distributed) teams are being forced to learn new ways to communicate and get work done. For many, the world of virtual teamwork is new and includes technology and tools that may be unfamiliar. This can be exhausting.

As team members adjust to new avenues of communication, it’s easy to miss crucial pieces of information. Over-communicating on multiple platforms ensures that the message doesn’t get lost in the tech.

Reason #2:

Unclear priorities can drive teams off-track

Increasingly ambiguous goals can drive teams away from the core mission of the organization. Now, more than ever, goals and expectations should be communicated clearly and updated frequently.

Successful leaders consistently and clearly speak about what is important to ensure and facilitate actions of employees and teammates. Clarity of priorities sets the team on a track for success.

Reason #3:

Feedback and recognition are easily lost in translation.

Great leaders are skilled at providing frequent feedback, both positive and constructive. This is true no matter how distributed a team is, but feedback and recognition in times of change are even more important than ever before.

Leaders must capture the attention of the team when offering feedback so that it is readily visible. To do this, leaders must engage their teams, perhaps seeking new ways to recognize and reward as a regular practice.

Reason #4:

Members need to feel included in order to commit to team goals.

When individuals feel disconnected from the team, it is difficult to work collaboratively and remain motivated. Teams need to be included in defining the next normal and in developing pathways to align with the future direction.

Good communication encourages teams to be active in decisions made about the future, which will lead to enhanced support of new goals and changes. No one likes being changed, but participating in creating the future leads to commitment to rather than reluctant compliance with the changes and decisions that are made.

Reason #5:

Clarity of vision builds trust.

Trust and transparency are core elements of high-performance teams, especially in times of change. A clear expression of the future and well-articulated expectations give organizations structure and build trust.

When change comes suddenly, great leaders cast an inspiring vision of the future and create a path for others to follow. By clearly articulating their vision, great leaders enable their teams to focus on the future.

Communicate, communicate, communicate

According to George Bernard Shaw,

“The single biggest problem in communication is the illusion that it has taken place.”

Communicating—even over-communicating within teams—is a must.

Communicating often and authentically ensures that the team is on the same page, despite being virtual, and ensures that the team is able to understand, commit to, and engage in the direction set by top leadership.

But understanding the value of communication is only the first step.

The next step is understanding what specifically needs to be communicated and how to communicate it effectively during times of change. For this and other advice on managing teams through times of crisis, access our white paper here.

If you’d like more information about our white paper series on “Exceptional Leadership in Times of Change,” the GOLD program, or Gratitude Network, please contact Ann Singer, Director of Programs & Events at ann@gratitude-network.org.