For the team to work effectively, it is important that each member has certain characteristics that ensure coherency. First, each individual should be focused on achieving the concrete result. For example, every person should set corporate goals prior to individual ones. Second, all workers should have an active position. It is important that they use their full potential through active participation in discussions, decision-making, and collaborations (Smith & Yates, 2012). It will indicate the commitment to work. Third, the ability to trust colleagues and their opinions is essential. Mutual trust and respect are guarantees of a harmonious working environment. Moreover, the team will be more willing to take risks when necessary.
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The absence of openness towards colleagues is a key characteristic of ineffective employee behavior. For example, if workers are not sincere with each other, it will undermine their trust in the team and employees will feel discouraged to cooperate. In addition, inability to listen to others is another negative characteristic. The capability to accept opinions of others is central to effective collaboration. A team in which each employee imposes his or her opinion is unlikely to work in a coordinated manner (Lencioni, 2003). Moreover, the inability to express emotions correctly can adversely affect teamwork. This will prevent the creation of such atmosphere in which people exchange ideas and approaches and then choose those options that are most appropriate for a particular situation. To mitigate such negative manifestations, the manager should conduct team building so that employees start trusting each other. Also, the leader should show through his or her own example what it means to communicate effectively and encourage all employees to express their thoughts.
In order to create a productive atmosphere, I will encourage openness and trust. To track how well the team works, a two-way feedback from employees to the leader and the reverse will be ensured (Smith & Yates, 2012). It will allow timely identification of problems and flexibility in mitigating the issues so that problems are resolved at the initial stage with minimum harm to collaboration.
In my professional experience, I have faced two types of diversity so far, which are cultural and generational diversity. In my previous workplace, the team consisted of individuals from different countries and many people had various backgrounds as determined by their age. The main difficulty posed by cultural diversity to the team’s performance was reflected in the differences in attitudes and perceptions of the team members. It was uneasy to collaborate with individuals who were unaccustomed to discussing openly various aspects of work and they felt ill at ease when collaborating with the leadership due to rigid subordination that was common for their country. In terms of generational diversity, it was difficult to cooperate with people that belonged to different age groups since each of them had set beliefs about the way cooperation and joint work should proceed, and some of the team members were less likely to communicate openly (Laureate Education, 2013). To leverage diversity, managers should create a shame-free environment inclusive of various ideas so that each individual could contribute from his or her personal experience. In addition, it is important that leadership enhances employee awareness of individual differences and promotes acceptance of these discrepancies.
When managing or working within a diverse team, it will be rather difficult to ensure open communication. Apart from that, it is rather likely that the team will be divided into subgroups since people with similar views or backgrounds will prefer working together. To motivate the diverse individuals, managers need to create a strong environment in which everyone could contribute (Colquitt, Lepine, & Wesson, 2013). In addition, it is crucial to promote respect and corporate culture so that all opinions and contributions are valued. Moreover, it is important for employees to understand that diverse workforce implies a greater variety of possibilities and ideas, which provides a competitive advantage for the company.
The greatest benefit of a virtual team is its flexibility. The company can change team configuration in accordance with situational variables. In addition, it becomes possible to gather the best possible team players who come from different countries and companies. Moreover, such teams are not confined to location and it will be possible for the company to overcome certain organizational constraints (DeRosa, 2009). However, time zone differences might complicate employee collaboration, which is a challenge unique to virtual teams. Apart from that, physical distance requires the particular mode of communication, which might not be habitual for all team members.
The team can resolve time zone differences autonomously. The members can negotiate and choose the mode of work that will be convenient for everyone. However, it is the role of manager to keep track of communication among the team to ensure that the joint work does take place (DeRosa, 2009). It is significant to gather feedback from the employees whether all team members are active participants or not and employ strategies aimed at productive environment, which encourages cooperation rather than simple delegation of tasks.
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The main obstacles to effective management of a virtual team are poor communication and weak collaboration. To address these issues, I will employ a number of different strategies such as determining the work system, scheduling regular meetings, and specifying deliverables (Berry, 2011). To contribute to the virtual team, I will also initiate video or regular calls instead of written communication and utilize project management tools such as reminders, Google Docs platform and so on. It will allow me to supervise the work process and ensure that the team is aware of the corporate goals. However, most importantly, it will enable the team members to cooperate through my direction.
Berry, G. R. (2011). Enhancing effectiveness on virtual teams. International Journal of Business Communication, 48(2), 186-206.
DeRosa, D. (2009). Virtual success: The keys to effectiveness in leading from a distance. Leadership in Action, 28(6), 9-11.
Colquitt, J., Lepine, J., & Wesson, M. (2013). Organizational behavior: Improving performance and commitment in the workplace (3rd ed.). New York, NY: McGraw-Hill.
Laureate Education. (Producer). (2013). Will differences doom the team? [Video file]. Web.
Lencioni, P. M. (2003). The trouble with teamwork. Leader to Leader, 29, 35-40.
Smith, G., & Yates, P. (2012). The benefits of self-reflection. Training Journal, 49-51.