How to Be a Value-Added Virtual Team Member
Apr 17, 2020
By AMA Staff
As a member of a team that is working virtually, you might have the option to disable your camera during a team meeting—but if you don’t take steps to demonstrate the value you add to your team, you may end up being less “visible” than ever before.
Anyone who is part of a virtual, remote or mobile team can only demonstrate the value they add to it by communicating, contributing, and establishing their presence as a trustworthy and impactful virtual team member. Otherwise, they may be noticed as a non-contributor.
When working remotely, it’s crucial to take specific steps to establish your presence and communicate effectively in the virtual arena. You also need to be able to resolve differences before they become conflicts, foster trust and credibility, and much more. While the dynamics are different from in-person contact, a deficit in these areas may be magnified in virtual teams.
Here are some tips for enhancing your value as a virtual team member:
Establish your presence. Zero-in on behaviors that foster trust, credibility and professionalism. While such behaviors may seem intuitive when interacting with colleagues in person, you may need to take “an extra step” in virtual interactions. It’s more important than ever to speak up and use your voice to express confidence in both the projects in which you’re involved and your ability to complete work assignments successfully. You may find you can even make a more noticeable impact on your team by ensuring your presence is not only recognized but essential in virtual meetings.
Demonstrate strong virtual communication skills. Concentrate on delivering a strong and influential message when communicating virtually with colleagues and superiors. Channels of communication differ in virtual settings, so focus on clarity of your communications and try to be as succinct as possible. In person, we often overlap when speaking in meetings, and the effect can be even more counterproductive in virtual discussions; so wait for others to complete their thoughts before sharing yours. In addition, be as specific as possible in communicating work accomplishments in order to be perceived as an effective and reliable team member.
Maintain and enhance relationships. In an office, it’s sometimes second nature, and even natural, to avoid direct contact with colleagues—even if you have a good rapport with them. Virtual teamwork offers an opportunity to build stronger relationships with the colleagues you know, and establish new relationships with others. In addition, harness your virtual communication skills to your advantage so you don’t miss the chance to forge a stronger relationship with your manager or supervisor. Also be sure to ask for feedback from other team members and advocate for collaboration. Be just as mindful of your organization’s accepted behaviors and cultural norms in virtual settings as you would when speaking to someone face-to-face. In short, always do your part to make virtual team meetings as productive, engaging and interactive as possible.
As with any skills, practice and consistent application is necessary for effectiveness, impact, and desired results as a virtual team member.