22 December 2021 | Teams

The necessity of the utilization of virtual teams during this pandemic has been universal. It also appears that for many, virtual or hybrid teams are here to stay. This raises the question of how to bring these teams to not just pre-covid standards and functionality, but to form these teams to a “world-class team” operational level.

Virtual teams are not new. Since the advent of technologies that offered this possibility, global teams frequently meet this way. It has opened new possibilities for these teams, and at the same time revealed limitations and breakdowns. 

Research over these last 15 years of the use of global virtual teams reveal that these breakdowns include:

  • Lack of trust and accountability
  • Lack of team cohesion
  • Loss of the human qualities of contact, connection and belonging
  • Lack of the formation of effective team cultures
  • Lack of transparency and clarity
  • Difficulty in bridging cultural differences

Sound familiar? Most of these breakdowns are the same as what we are currently experiencing with virtual teams today. At the same time, there are a few teams that have learned to do this well and avoid the most common breakdowns, but not many. 

The new component of our current situation that magnifies these breakdowns is in the humanness domain. Many people experience a general sense of isolation and realize how important the connection and sense of belonging and energy that working on a team provides. So how do we actually do this in a virtual or hybrid working environment?

There is a whole energetic stream of connection that we all live in. This is not an airy, new age concept, this is us all as human beings. Part of the totality of who we are is our “felt sense” of each other and the world. Even if we aren’t utilizing this as an aware skill, we are all doing it all the same. When we meet someone for the first time, it is not unusual to feel either drawn to them, repelled by them or neutral to them. This is our energetic self at work. Connection to this part of ourselves while participating in virtual team meetings supports human connection even when not in proximity with each other. In addition, working remotely requires more communication, not messaging.

From my perspective, it is not from the lack of desire or willingness to address these concerns, but more that there is a lack of skill and knowledge about how to manifest and embody the necessary skills. 

How can we create this connection when we work remotely, even though we do not meet physically?

Susanna Lindblom is determined to see her clients succeed every time. She is an ICF certified coach and is also a certified somatic coach by the Strozzi Institute. 

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