Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Leading a Virtual Team

The Virtual Office

How can organizations motivate virtual employees who work away from the traditional office?
Managing workers is particularly challenging, especially if they are not physically located near the main office.

Motivation determines how an individual engages in a work-related behavior. It is need-based, job-based, cognitively and behaviorally based.

Therefore, managers must find a systematic tool that can help them determine employees’ motivation in comparison to the standard in-house employee’s.

Looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, remote employees’ social needs and ego needs would not be satisfied. If these workers do not feel a sense of belonging and acceptance, whether it comes from office culture, or small social connections such as close colleagues, they will be unmotivated and dissatisfied with their job.

This need of belonging gives them a sense of control.

An approach to solving this problem is applying the path-goal leadership theory.

Leaders can adopt one of the four behavioral leadership styles to handle each situation.

Instrumental style includes planning, organizing
Supportive style shows concern from workers.
Participative style shares information and asks for employees input
Achievement-oriented style sets challenging goals and rewards performance.

These four different styles assist the leader in any given situation, and allow workers to have a cushion system that encompasses guidance and support.

A guest post from Nadia Fadonougbo - an Organizational Psychology Graduate Student

-Michael Cardus is the founder of Create-Learning-Team Building, an experiential based training and development consulting organization, as well as a blogger for TeamBuilding NY. Mike specializes in team development and leadership development consulting and training, creating team-building programs that retain talented staff members, increase production and effectiveness of your team. He lives in Buffalo, NY, and travels to you to serve your team-building and leadership training needs, wherever and whenever fits your schedule.