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Choosing the Right E-Learning Programs for Your Virtual Teams

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Posted by Rick Lepsinger April 18, 2018

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Every day, businesses have to contend with an increasingly globalized economy. To expand their reach, many organizations have developed an increased reliance on remote employees working on virtual teams. Using virtual teams allows companies to leverage the skills and abilities of team members regardless of their location.

However, many organizations create their virtual teams without considering the full implications of having virtual workers and what they need to achieve success. Leading a virtual team requires a unique set of skills that is distinct from the skills needed to lead a co-located team. Building trust between team members, managing accountability, and resolving conflicts all become much more difficult when attempted from a distance.

Unfortunately, many organizations that need to use remote teams simply don’t have the time and budget to provide traditional training programs to develop the skills necessary for success on a virtual team.

To make training more accessible and scalable for virtual teams, organizations are turning to virtual instructor led (VILP) and e-learning programs to deliver learning content to their employees.

OnPoint Consulting, a recognized leader in providing practical training for driving success, offers multiple VILPs and e-learning courses for leading and working on virtual teams. Our e-learning programs for virtual leaders and virtual team members are based on proven management models that are supported by our own research into what high-performing virtual leaders and teams do differently.

When choosing a VILP or e-learning program to use for your company’s virtual teams, consider what your goals and needs are. Each of the following e-learning courses addresses a specific need or challenge working on or managing a virtual team.

1: No Trust, No Team: Building Trust Virtually

What it is:

This training module is designed to help virtual team leaders with their remote trust-building skills so they can better connect with and earn the trust of  their remote workers. In this module, learners will:

  • Learn the barriers to building trust virtually;
  • Learn the four components of trustworthiness that are critical for virtual collaboration;
  • Understand one’s current level of trustworthiness;
  • Determine the extent to which the factors required to build trust among virtual team members are in place; and
  • Learn strategies to build and sustain trust with and among virtual team members.

Why Take This Course?

Virtual teams, because of the lack of face-to-face interactions, often have a harder time establishing trust-based relationships with one another. This module helps learners improve their trust-building skills so that they can improve the long-term performance and viability of their virtual teams.

2: High-Impact Communication Skills: Building a “High-Touch” Environment

What it is:

This course is designed to help virtual team leaders recreate a “high-touch” environment—the type of environment where team members can quickly reach out to one another—by leveraging a variety of skills and technology tools. In this course, participants will:

  • Learn how to create a “high-touch” environment when working with remote employees;
  • Learn how to match technology to the task in a virtual setting;
  • Understand how to overcome barriers to virtual communication; and
  • Learn skills and practical tips for listening and responding from a distance.

Why Take This Course?

Effective communication is often the foundation needed to provide coaching and feedback, resolve conflicts, and build trust between team members. The lack of personal interaction—the “high-touch” environment afforded by a co-located office—hampers cooperation and communication among virtual team members, which this course is designed to remedy.

3: Conducting Effective Virtual Meetings

What it is:

This course is designed to help team leaders deal with some of the challenges that are largely unique to virtual meetings—such as multi-tasking team members, time zone differences, and lack of experience with virtual meeting tools. In this course, learners will:

  • Become better able to maintain high levels of engagement and attention among attendees during virtual meetings;
  • Learn how to handle common challenges that occur during virtual meetings;
  • Discover how understanding cultural differences can enhance communication; and
  • Learn practical tips from successful virtual leaders on conducting virtual meetings.

Why Take This Course?

Virtual meetings are a frequent stumbling point for virtual teams as leaders struggle to gain and maintain the attention of participants long enough to achieve meeting objectives. This, in turn, negatively impacts performance for the team as members miss important information during the meeting. This training module supplies leaders with the tools needed to conduct more effective virtual meetings by leveraging technology and adjusting their behavior.

4: Influencing Remotely

What it is:

This training module is designed to help employees learn how to gain support and  commitment from others in a virtual team environment. In this module, learners will:

  • Learn how to gain commitment for plans and initiatives when working from a distance;
  • Understand their own primary approach to influencing through a self-assessment;
  • Learn four influence techniques that are most effective in a virtual environment; and
  • Develop effective influencing strategies for various scenarios.

Why Take This Course?

Effective use of influencing tactics can help leaders gain commitment to a course of action, allowing them to keep their teams working towards their long-term goals. However, exercising influence can be more difficult on a virtual team since there’s less face-to-face time between the leader and remote team members.

This course helps leaders overcome the barriers to influencing virtual team members and virtual colleagues  in order to gain support for their ideas and proposals.

5: Managing Accountability and Coaching in a Virtual Environment

What it is:

This training module is designed to help leaders become more effective coaches and manage the accountability of employees working in a virtual team setting. By completing this module, learners will:

  • Understand how managing accountability is different in a virtual environment;
  • Avoid common mistakes that lead to a lack of accountability;
  • Learn how to enhance accountability using two practical tools  andt
  • Discover critical skills and questions for coaching remotely.

Why Take This Course?

High levels of accountability is a major differentiator between high-performing and low-performing teams in any setting. However, accountability is often more difficult to manage in a virtual team setting when there is little direct interaction. Managing accountability often requires a coaching intervention and coaching team members is, likewise, hard to accomplish in a virtual setting.

This course is designed to help leaders bridge the gap created in a virtual environment to become more effective coaches who can hold team members accountable while providing feedback that helps them to improve overall team performance over time.

6: Managing Conflict from a Distance

What it is:

This is program is  designed to help leaders learn how to better manage conflicts in a virtual setting. In this module, leaders will:

  • Learn why conflict occurs in a virtual environment;
  • Identify their primary style for handling conflict;
  • Develop style flexibility and use proven tactics to effectively manage conflicts from a distance; and
  • Analyze situations in a virtual environment to develop a conflict-management strategy.

Why Take This Course?

The lack of face-to-face interactions between team members, as well as potential language and cultural differences, can contribute to misunderstandings and conflicts between the members of a virtual team. This course helps virtual leaders and team members become better at detecting and resolving conflicts before they can develop into schisms that negatively impact team collaboration and effectiveness.

7: Inspiring Others from a Distance

What is it?

In this course, leaders will learn strategies for inspiring those around them to commit to a goal or course of action—enhancing productivity and employee engagement. Some key objectives include:

  • Learning the difference between inspiring and motivating;
  • Recognizing the factors that motivate people in a virtual setting;
  • Learning four elements of inspirational leadership and how to apply them virtually; and
  • Creating and sustaining high levels of engagement and enthusiasm in a virtual setting.

Why Take This Course?

Inspiring others can be difficult in the best of circumstances—doing so with remote employees, some of whom do not report directly to the leader, can make things even more challenging. This course helps leaders build a sense of purpose and community among team members that contributes to employee engagement—which, in turn, helps improve team performance.

8: Building Great Virtual Teams

This is a general course intended for companies that face the challenge of building a team that involves remote employees so they can set themselves up for success in the long run. In this course, participants will:

  • Recognize barriers to teamwork and collaboration in a virtual setting;
  • Understand the characteristics that differentiate high-performing virtual teams; and
  • Ensure their virtual teams are set up for success.

Why Take This Course?

By learning what differentiates high-performing virtual teams from low-performing ones, leaders can work toward ensuring that they have the right elements in place to achieve long-term success.

9: Enhancing Your Effectiveness as a Virtual Leader

This module provides leaders with the opportunity to evaluate their knowledge of what it takes to be an effective leader and enhance their use of virtual leadership skills at work. In this course, leaders will:

  • Recognize and manage the key challenges they face as virtual leaders;
  • Learn the characteristics that differentiate high-performing virtual leaders;
  • Understand their personal leadership style and how it impacts their ability to lead from a distance;
  • Assess their knowledge of effective virtual leadership; and

Why Take This Course?

On virtual teams where there is a significant reliance on technology, direct contact is limited due to time zone differences and distance, and priorities are constantly changing, leaders often face significant difficulty in gaining commitment to actions and meeting long-term team goals.

This course is recommended for virtual team leaders who are looking to further build their skills as leaders. The self-assessment portion of the course is especially helpful for identifying one’s strengths and areas for improvement to create a well-rounded leader capable of guiding virtual teams to consistent success.

The above courses are just a few of the ones that OnPoint offers for virtual team leaders. For more information about leading virtual teams—or otherwise enhancing virtual team effectiveness—please contact OnPoint Consulting today.

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