How to reduce distance with remote teams

May 9th, 2011 by Douglas McEncroe · No Comments · Liderazgo

This last week I was away from home, delivering a programme up in Stockholm. Over the last two years my wife and I have managed to reduce the distance through Skype that allows us to see each other while we talk. But with my baby girls they weren’t able to recognize their daddy even though I was right in front of them.

The importance of Interaction

All that changed last week when for the first time in their 15 month life they could see me and realize who it was on the scene in from of them. Their waving and blowing kisses made the miles that separate us just melt away and warmed their old Dad’s heart. There was now real interaction.
Many of my clients have to lead in really quite difficult circumstances having to manage teams whose members are scattered right across the globe, different time zones, different languages and different cultures. Getting them all together for physical contact is both complicated and expensive, although this should happen at least once a year. Telephone calls and emails are efficient and fast and yet somehow cold and a potential minefield for misunderstanding.

Using new technology to build trust

My experience with my little girls this last week made me realise just how important real interaction is, it creates a closeness that helps build trust, and essential element in teams. The new technologies offer us great opportunities for managing remote teams as being able to see the person, observe his or her body language and their facial expressions at the same time you are talking with them is so different to just talking on a conference call, it is the closest thing physical contact that we have and leaders of remote teams need to think about how they can use technologies like Skype more.


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