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Lindred Greer: Why Virtual Teams Have More Conflict

Managing conflict in virtual teams

Managing conflict in virtual teams
  • Assign tasks that demand interdependence among team members to complete, so that they rely on each other to succeed.
  • Set clear goals. Formalizing the team’s vision, roles, norms, work processes, and strategies can help keep a team on track.
  • Awarding teamwork is crucial to encourage them to work together and discourage an individual from going off the rails.
  • Be patient. Teams often overcome problems of virtuality over time.

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Lindred Greer: Why Virtual Teams Have More Conflict

Lindred Greer: Why Virtual Teams Have More Conflict

https://www.gsb.stanford.edu/insights/lindred-greer-why-virtual-teams-have-more-conflict#

gsb.stanford.edu

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Key Ideas

Conflict in virtual teams

...is more likely to escalate because:

  • Colleagues are more likely to take disagreements personally when they don't have the context, nuance or even the facial expressions of the other person they are engaging with.
  • Communication is often impersonal, so it encourages a back and forth that escalates more quickly than during in-person encounters.

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Getting into remote working
Getting into remote working

Workers around the globe have been forced to take on the promise and challenges of virtual teamwork.

Many people are more used to working in person and haven't had the opportunity to pr...

Working well

Virtual teamwork places greater emphasis on communication and organization.

Over the short-term, newly formed virtual teams experience more negative outcomes, such as team conflict, lower satisfaction, less knowledge sharing, and poorer performance. But, they will adapt and improve over time.

Adapting quickly

At an individual level, some people will find it easier to adapt than others.

  • A study revealed that when people are imaginative and enjoying a new challenge, they are happier to embrace virtual teamwork.
  • Extroverted individuals prefer face-to-face work, and virtual work may lessen the energy they get from social interaction.
  • Introverts are better at adapting to a virtual environment as it involves less face-to-face interaction.
  • Those who like to make quick decisions prefer virtual teams.

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Before remote rebooting your team

... consider:

  • More than 70% of leaders say their teams do not collaborate on their most important business problems, and 70% say their teams are conflict avoidant.
  • 2...
Strong virtual teams
  • Virtual and traditional teams can only succeed if all the members of the team feel like they can be candid.
  • Everyone on the team needs to be accountable, not only to results and to their superior, but to each other.
  • They proactively foster strong relationships (caring, trusting, supportive generous) among members.
  • Teams thrive when they have ambitious goals that have been collaboratively created and jointly owned.
Creating a new culture

Leaders and team members can make a virtue of this global situation and new world of work: you have an opportunity to introduce a totally new meeting culture, one that values candor and accountability.
It's not going to be easy, given the uncertainty we face. But now more than ever is important to work together.

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Focus on your camera

Practice looking into your camera during video conferences when you speak, even for brief moments.
It's challenging to focus on your camera for an entire meeting, but know that you increase the ...

Maintain a strong voice

Strong voices convey authority, credibility, and confidence.
Using a loud voice will also keep you from mumbling and from speaking too quickly due to the amount of breath required.

Frame yourself in the right way

Make sure you have time before the meeting to pick your location and put your head fully in frame.
In a video conference, your head and the top of your shoulders should dominate the screen. Also, be mindful of your background. Distracting elements will pull attention away from you.

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