Why is miscommunication common in the virtual workplace? Lack of context. And it's not just that e-mails and phone conversations can't present a person's visual reaction to what you've said. As a result, even the simplest of things can be misinterpreted. To achieve the context that provides shared understanding, try the following best practices:
We all tend to trust what we can see. If someone is always in the office early and leaves late, you'd probably assume he is a dedicated, hard-working employee. But he might actually be the least productive of his co-workers.
Employee conflicts can be poisonous. We have all experienced the damage to productivity, crushed creativity, and squashed morale. As Kevin M. Campbell, Accenture's Group Chief Executive, Technology, notes, "All too often, I've seen that personal conflicts derail costly projects and important initiatives." Unresolved employee conflicts are bad enough in a traditional, physical workplace. They are all the more dangerous in a virtual environment, where people don't have the luxury of proximity to work their differences out face-to-face.
I have worked on many teams in which we dutifully did our jobs, and the group fulfilled its objectives. And then I have worked on other teams in which everyone energetically collaborated with one another, and the results were spectacular. Not only did we surpass our goals, we also thoroughly enjoyed and benefited from that process as individuals.
Teams can't function well when co-workers don't trust one another. Building and maintaining trust in the traditional, physical workplace is difficult enough, but the process is even tougher in a virtual environment, where people often have to work with people they haven't met in person.
Video from a Live Talks Business Forum featuring Harley Manning in conversation with Keith Ferrazzi. Held on October 4, 2012 in downtown Los Angeles at Gensler.
A number of years ago, I worked on an executive team in which everyone was located in the same building but people seemed frustratingly far apart. Yet at my first job out of business school, I worked on a number of teams in which we were scattered across the globe but I felt closely connected with those individuals. What accounts for such huge, seemingly counterintuitive differences?
Sales teams that focus on relationships quickly learn the value of providing personal and professional value to clients rather than focusing solely on the sale.
TEDGlobal offers almost unlimited opportunities to build relationships with extraordinary people. Complete these 15 missions before and during the conference to develop new mindsets and skills, advance your goals and earn the title of TEDGlobal Commando!
For the past year, Restaurant.com has supported the Ferrazzi Greenlight Research Institute's interest in proving and enhancing some of the relationship ideas I first expressed in my book Never Eat Alone. The goal: to help virtually everyone open up and really connect over a meal: friends, families, significant others, clients and associates...