Given the growing popularity of remotely located teams, some etiquette lessons could help the newcomers in planning and facilitate remote team meetings as well as those who are more experienced in working with remote teams. The following lessons are applicable to the Internet, mobile, and video technology forms of remote team meetings. By applying these etiquette lessons, you as a leader of a remote team will be able to improve the effectiveness of the meetings.
Set Expectations for Working Together
There are three main parts to setting expectations. First is setting goals. While it may sound obvious, setting goals for remote teams is a critical part of etiquette for collaboration toward the accomplishment of those agreed on goals to happen.
Second is defining roles and responsibilities. Various key roles for remote teams have been identified that mirror roles for traditional face -to- face teams, such as facilitator and leader, participant, and scribe. However, additional roles may also be needed for remote teams to be successful. The main one is a process monitor or gatekeeper, whose role is to assist the facilitator. This person must pay attention to keeping to the agenda in virtual meetings. The process monitor has to document issues for an online parking lot for discussion and resolution off – line, keeping track of who is participating and who is not in virtual meetings, and sending private messages to the facilitator so that he or she can attempt to engage any participants who are not actively participating.
Third is identifying the team’s decision – making method. It can be either of these three. The first one is by consensus (majority rule with the understanding that all agree to support and not circumvent the decision even if they did not agree with it). The second style is unanimous (everyone must agree), and the last form is when the leader or management takes the decision in which the team has no real decision- making power or authority.
Ensure that you as a facilitator are equipped with skills
In a face-to-face setting, you can steer the situation by taking cues from the body language and the level of participation. In a remote scenario, the skills are tested to the hilt, and you must be ready to run these meetings. As a leader you must be skillful in these areas:
Facilitation and coaching:
You must be adept in giving accurate, constructive, developmental feedback; respecting confidentiality, and giving proper attribution of ideas.
Paraphrasing; identifying sources on remote team calls (for example, “ Was that Tom who made the point about coaching? Thank you, Tom “); and active listening (like,“ When I hear you being so passionate about the training option, I sense that it is your strong preference”; “Given the extensive discussion about the pros and cons, it doesn’t seem that we are quite ready to make a final decision. Correct? ”).
Cultural sensitivity is an essential leadership skill in the light of the growing number of multicultural, global remote teams. This skill ensures that language in spoken and written form is carefully managed to achieve clarity of meaning. Tips include:
- Avoiding idioms, acronyms, and jargon.
- Avert the use of slang expressions because they may confuse and exclude non-native English- language speakers.
- Be careful when using analogies. Team members for whom English is a second language or who have not lived in the predominantly English-speaking population, for example, may not understand these
- Tell stories instead of using humor, as humor can unintentionally be offensive.
- Check frequently for understanding.
- Speak slowly and clearly.
- Use single – syllable words, because they are easier for non-native English language speakers to comprehend.
- Provide instant messaging or another capability for private feedback, if asking questions or expressing lack of understanding publicly intimidates a participant.
Creating a world-class team requires building a culture rich in collaboration and teaming. A remote team has the potential to engage all employees to provide a variety of learning opportunities and to be a leader in building collaborative solutions for organizational success. The quality of interaction between such teams depends on their etiquette and by improving it you can reap rich results