Another very important challenge faced by members of a virtual team is when conflicts arise. When resolving conflicts, an important element is undeniably, communication. It plays an important role. Without it, no conflict can just be fixed. It is also through communication, that people tend to have conflicts. That is, miscommunication leads to conflicts. In a virtual environment, communication failures can even be caused by technological failure. Conflicts are more likely to come up in the virtual space rather than personal (Shin 331).
The conflict may not even be exposed right away, since there is no physical presence and meeting among members. Silent conflicts may even lead to non-performance of tasks and much more, fading trust. It is even hard to recognize conflicts in this kind of environment. Thus, why resolve something? Some conflicts are left unresolved, due to avoidance of some people. It was stressed that there are also advantages caused by being virtual (Shin 332; Webber 1). When there are conflicts, emotions can just disappear right away since you do not even see each other.
Using synchronous interactions like chats can help in the negotiating process. Despite these challenges, it is still feasible to produce a successful virtual team by using these three criteria developed by Hackman: “productive output (quality, quantity and timeliness); personal growth and well-being; and viability (ability of the members to work together as a team in the future” (Hackman 771). With these, working with a team can be very fulfilling and rewarding most especially that when such collaboration has ended, there were friendships formed and even developed.
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The President of TMA-Americas, Mr. Terence Brake has formulated three principles in leading virtual teams (Brake 1). These principles help improve the efficiency of such kind of teamwork. First, all member must be proactive. This implies that you increase your confidence and translate it to your team despite the differences. Next is to focus on your team relationships before doing your tasks. Just like any first meetings, it is very important to get to know all your team members.
By doing this, you will create more connection and hopefully have a tight bond for the project. Furthermore, developing your trust greatly lies on how you perceived each other. Thus, it is very important to establish such strong ties. It is also important to be clear of your team’s purpose and goals. The members should really focus on achieving those goals and everyone must follow the same path, and arrive at the same destination. Next is to have a sense of order and predictability. Everything must be organized and everybody must know their own place.
Monitoring regularly through frequent updates is very helpful in connecting the separate pieces of the puzzle. Another thing, when problems arise, everyone must remain objective and professional. It is not advisable to lose your calmness just like in dealing with a face-to-face team because having a clear head will help you communicate effectively. Also, agreements must clear out any uncertainty. This includes agreements in the processes and methodologies used. It is also very important to give personal attention to each member.
By being a good friend can develop trust. Challenges are very inevitable in any situation, must more in this virtual environment. These challenges greatly arise from the differences between the members of the team. The members must learn how to be open and be more adaptive. One must learn how to listen and communicate with an open mind. Acceptance is the key. In addition, technologies are like humans. They also have their own limitations. If it is really possible, it is more advisable not to completely rely on each other virtually.
Last, just like any normal face-to-face group, the members are also people. Despite not seeing them physically, they have their own emotions that need to be considered. It is important to treat them fairly and treat each other as if you are really meeting a person. By doing such, it is not impossible not to succeed in a virtual team. This kind of environment truly needs more study and development in order to implement it efficiently. Despite the distance challenges it now faces, it can still function regularly and maybe much more efficiently than face-to-face.
Anjum, Maria. Establishing guidelines for management of virtual teams. 2005: 1-8. 12 January 2008. www. iadis. org/Multi2006/Papers/19/F018_SEA. pdf Beekhuyzen, Jenine. , et al. “Confessions of a virtual team. ” Quality and Impact of Qualitative Research. 3rd annual QualIT Conference, Brisbane: Institute for Integrated and Intelligent Systems, Griffith University. 2006: 20-28. Brake, Terence. Leading virtual teams: 10 principles. 2004: 1-3. 12 January 2008. www. tmaworld. com/viewpoint/default. cfm? intviewpointid=2 - 18k –
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