These Virtual People Skills Dissolve Distance | #PeopleSkills #Leadership

With today’s mega trend of working from home, your virtual people skills dissolve the distance between you and your peers and leaders. Whether you are leading virtual teams, collaborating to get work done, or meeting online, virtual people skills are absolutely essential to your success.

Virtual People Skills: Image is two nautical ropes linked together in the center

These Virtual People Skills Eliminate Distance. Image by Owen Hodgkinson via Flickr.

Image by Owen Hodgkinson via Flickr Creative Commons License.

These Virtual People Skills Dissolve Distance

As you and your teammates, managers, and leaders work from home, the human challenges of working apart can get in the way. Despite the allure of not having to “go to the office”, many have found working at a distance more challenging than they imagined. So how can you dissolve the distance between you all? Use these virtual people skills!

    Virtual People Skills to Engage Employees & Lead Morale

  1. Reach out. To lead virtual teams, engage employees, and lead morale, you must create interactions. These interactions happen naturally when people work in the same office space. When working apart, they don’t. Yet the need for regular interaction is the same. Interactions build bonds that replace doubts and mistrust. They show everyone that they matter and belong.

  2. Listen, discuss, and agree on next steps. It might sound odd that this basic leadership principle is on the list. Yet when those you lead are dispersed, it goes from being a basic principle to being a critical step for each interaction.

  3. Find out what challenges they have. Working from home (i.e. virtual work) has unique challenges. To lead morale, don’t wait for the challenges to overwhelm and demoralize employees. Work with them to solve the problems before that.

  4. Tap employees’ perspectives. Leaders and managers may fall into the same trap of working solo when working from home. Don’t do it! Be the model of virtual teamwork you must lead. Engage employees’ talents.

  5. Be flexible and supportive but not indecisive. Leaders and managers are struggling with being supportive of virtual employees’ challenges while expecting top performance. A simple rule to follow: Listen and collaborate to overcome challenges and reach the goals. You don’t have to choose between being supportive and reaching goals. Be supportive so employees can reach the goals.

  6. Give recognition and appreciation. Share more honest positive feedback and accolades than you normally do. Distance can feel isolating and positive feedback lifts that spirit.

  7. Steps to Maintain Trust & Teamwork

  8. Clarify don’t assume. Distance and fewer interactions breed assumptions. However, trust and teamwork slip away when assumptions rule the day. Most importantly, decisions based on assumptions can sink the best of teams.

  9. Presume a positive intention until you know otherwise. With all teammates dealing with the challenges of working apart, impatience and differences pop up. Discuss the friction without accusing. It helps maintain trust.

  10. Take time to ask each other how it’s going. These types of interactions happen naturally in a shared office space. Yet, they seem to disappear with virtual teams. It’s important to support and care for each other and this simple gesture does it.

  11. Give full attention. When interacting from a distance, your local distractions are a big threat to trust. Show someone you are paying attention; it’s a underlying element of trust and teamwork.

  12. Listen actively. Whether it’s through email, text, telephone, or conferencing, listening and understanding each other is essential to trust and teamwork.

  13. People Skills for Videoconferencing

  14. Minimize background noise! You’ve read this before YET people continue to overlook this. Phones ringing, pet noises, food chomping, children crying, TVs in the background, etc… make videoconferencing mega stressful for all those involved. Yes, of course, mute your microphone when you are not speaking. Yet, when you unmute to say something, you must have quiet around you. Background noises can make it impossible for others to hear and process what you are saying.

  15. Check your background. You may think that your video camera is only showing you. However, in a recent videoconference, people were seen getting dressed in the background.

  16. Dress in business casual head to toe. If you stand up during the videoconference, others on conference don’t want to see your underwear or bathing suit! You are working. Your professional image is important even when working from home.

  17. Listen. Stop interrupting. Video conferencing has features to help people speak one at a time.

Dissolve the Distance

As you can see from this list, virtual people skills replace distance with great human interaction. Be aware of how you are thinking and acting and aware of other’s needs. Be positive, clear, empathetic, flexible with others, and accountable for your own actions.

Remember, it’s important to connect with your peers and those you lead whether you are in the same office or working from home. To do it, improve and use your virtual people skills.

Your Turn: What working-from-home tips will you share with us here?

From my professional experience to your success,
Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™

Related Post:
9 Communication Essentials for Leading Virtually

©2020 Kate Nasser, CAS, Inc. Somerville, NJ. I appreciate your sharing the link to this post on your social streams. However, if you want to re-post or republish the content of this post, please email for permission and guidelines. Thank you for respecting intellectual capital.

Kate Nasser, The People Skills Coach™, delivers coaching, consulting, training, and keynotes on leading change, employee engagement, teamwork, and delivering the ultimate customer service. She turns interaction obstacles into interpersonal success. See this site for workshop outlines, keynote footage, and customer results.

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