Leading Virtual Teams / Part 3 #LVT23

In part three of the LVT23 course we will examine “how we can set shared expectations with and for the people we work with and how we communicate those expectations.”

For ease of finding my posts, the below list will be updated with links as I write a supporting post of my own reflections:

Part 3: Setting shared expectations

Nothing is more important, when recruiting and onboarding, than following up on these activities by devising and using a structured approach to bringing new people into the business and integrating them.

Understanding what everyone’s expectations of remote or virtual working mean enables you to manage their expectations and manage the integration of new people, new tools, new approaches, and new directions. By using appropriate methods of communication, whether these are new and being adopted for the first time (lucky you) or existing systems that you need to learn how to maximise their usefulness – this usefulness must work for you AND your team, not just you.

This is how you become a leader, not just a manager. Demonstrating good practice, being consistent in your messaging, and including your team IN the team can install a sense of belonging and a culture around a supportive and inclusive team spirit. It can be hard to build this, especially if you’re starting from scratch, but it is worth the effort and energy you need to put in (and the team too – tell them what you’re doing, and why, and it can happen). If you exclude the very people you’re working for and exclude the very people this is meant to support, then you can’t hope to achieve anything of value.


In terms of what a successful shared experience looks like this will clearly be different for each of us, and for those on different sides of the working relationship. Whilst I can say, for example, I’ve put everything in place for success, this can still fall incredibly short of the desired outcome if the other people in the relationship or team don’t get out what you think they will, or should.

Often the scene you’ve set will change over time, either as a result of events or different personalities. This is not to say there has been a failure, quite the opposite – the fact you’ve noticed the need to change and modify/improve processes in itself a success. If there is any failure in this situation it’s when you know change is needed but ignore it, carry on with what has worked (maybe?) in the past and just let it continue.

One of the biggest successes for someone leading a virtual team is when individuals within the team take ownership of elements of the team culture. Organising activities and interventions for people is a nec- essary step towards this, but ultimately our aim must be to empower staff so that they can actively shape and continue to generate the kind of team spirit that everyone wants.

Deepwell, M. (2022) “Leading virtual teams. field notes from a CEO,” Research in Learning Technology, p. 73. Available at: https://doi.org/10.25304/alt.2022.01

Image source: David Hopkins / Twitter