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Tool Box: Resources for Leading Virtual Teams

Tool Box: Resources for Leading Virtual Teams

If you’re the leader of a virtual team, there are numerous resources out there to help you be successful. In the last of this month’s posts about leading virtual teams, I’ll share just a few.


For this category, let’s hear one last time from John Hall and Raghu Viswanathan, leaders in a global technology company, about the technological tools they use to support their virtual teams.

Karen: Tell me more about the video conferencing technology you use.

John: We’ve all found video conferencing frustrating in the past. But with TelePresence, it’s literally like sitting across from somebody at a conference table. The screens are physically as big as people sitting around the conference table, and it looks like you’re sitting right across the table talking to them.

Raghu: I’d describe it exactly that way. In fact, the way we do it here is that we have a meeting table that is one half of a circle, and we sit around that half circle, and the other half of that circle is in the other country. So when you connect it virtually, what happens is that now you’re sitting at this circular table, and people actually feel like they’re sitting in the same room. It’s pretty remarkable.

One of my managers was doing a team building exercise with her directs, and she had some of her people here and some in India. So they said, let’s line up according to the month and day people were born. People started to shuffle around the room , and rearrange themselves, and then some people actually tried to jump through the screen! In that instant, they were really virtual. It was a remarkable moment, where you just realize, wow, this can work.

Karen: What other technology tools do you like for supporting virtual teams?

John: I would add WebEx. It’s a platform to share PowerPoint presentations, to share slides, and things like that, and that seems to be a step up from just the standard conference call. I think of a conference call, WebEx, and TelePresence – those provide a platform for communicating that’s easy and common and really inexpensive for people to use around the world.

Blogs, Books, and Articles

A simple Google search will find you plenty of these, but here are a few that I thought had useful content. This blog focuses on the myriad ways that people work remotely. I particularly liked “7 Secrets to Managing a Workshifting Team.”

Virtual Team Success: A Practical Guide to Working and Leading From a Distance, by Richard Lepsinger and Darleen DeRosa, Pfeiffer, 2010.

8 Tips for Effective Virtual Teams,” by Jennell Evans

Leading Virtual Teams: Building and Sustaining Successful Virtual Working Relationships,” by Beth O’Neill

Your turn: What resources do you rely on to help you lead a virtual team or work remotely? What’s out there that I missed?

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