Workshop: What Are We Missing? Creating Successful Leadership of Effective Virtual Teams

Impressions from the 2017 SIETAR Europa Congress

Marius Zenner on “What Are We Missing? Creating Successful Leadership of Effective Virtual Teams” – workshop by Emma Dodwell-Groves

In a very interesting and well-conducted interactive workshop Emma Dodwell-Groves gave interesting insights into the keys to successful virtual teamwork while at the same time leaving plenty of time for fruitful discussions among the participants.

After a short introduction, the EMEA Regional Lead for Intercultural and Language at BGRS in London opened the floor for a quick exchange among the audience members regarding the relevance of virtual teamwork. In a brief discussion it became clear that in many different ways this topic was highly relevant to everyone. May it be as a trainer, a student or in a business context, virtual teamwork is present in all these areas and thus all participants had different experiences to share.

In the following Emma gave some statistical background on the matter which was helpful to once again establish the relevance of the topic and to prove some of the main points. This part of the workshop also pointed out the difficulties virtual teams often face and the overall malfunction of many such teams, especially in regard to different cultural backgrounds which is the biggest challenge for most virtual teams.

Following this section we all witnessed an example of an international conference call enacted by workshop participants that went terribly wrong and thus served as a good example to analyze the challenges virtual teams can face, such as different cultural backgrounds and working styles, different time zones and working environments, technical difficulties, lack of non-verbal communication elements etc.

As promised in the beginning, Emma at this point gave good advice on how to deal with these challenges. Small things like time zone rotation for meetings, clear agendas or the implementation of a continuous feedback loop can make a big difference.

The last half hour of the workshop was than opened up for a very lively discussion where participants shared their own experiences and exchanged solutions regarding the multiple challenges of successful virtual teamwork presented previously.

Emma’s workshop had a lot of new input to offer and was overall very well conducted. Especially the inclusion of statistical data from the BGRS Global Mobility Trends Survey and the RW3 Virtual Teams Survey was a helpful tool to display some of the main issues. Another major positive aspect of this workshop was the amount of time designated to open discussion and Q & A. This made it a very lively and interactive event with plenty of takeaways that will help the participants in the future when being part of a virtual team or while consulting members of such teams.

More impressions from the 2017 SIETAR Europa congress can be found here.