Leaders should use this one metric to improve the morale of geographically distributed teams

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Credit: GDJ/Pixabay

Business leaders today have the increased challenge of managing teams across multiple locations. It may be in-person, across a campus of offices, or strictly over video and instant messaging apps.

I’m one of those leaders. I work with a technology team spread out across Canada. We are called a distributed, virtual, remote team.

A virtual leader is commonly defined as someone who manages toward a common purpose, using technology to communicate to a team in different time zones and locations.

Of our team of 30, a third sit a few feet away from me, in an open environment hidden only by computer monitors. Others share the same floor, separated by a wall or two. One moved to another province last year. The rest of the team is divided by the Georgia Strait between Vancouver Island and the mainland. …

Virtual personal space requires good boundaries — here’s how to set and respect them

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Credit: Gerd Altmann/Pixabay

I began my career at a mid-sized company where I sat in pod-like configurations with no cubicle walls. Our desks were a few feet apart from each other. While an open-plan office typically starves us of personal space, the only time I felt my personal space compromised there was when a colleague with less-than-stellar personal hygiene joined the team.

We can define personal space as the area individual humans actively maintain around themselves into which others cannot intrude without arousing discomfort.

Hayduk, 1978

Many of us now work in virtual spaces with remote team members, so it’s even less likely for us to feel encroached upon physically in day-to-day situations. …

Virtual Leadership

Five attributes and how to cultivate and live them

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Photo by Matthieu Joannon on Unsplash

I was a candidate for a promotion to manager in 2003. It didn’t happen. The vote was not unanimous. Disappointed with the rejection and tired from years of extra-long working days, I went home and bawled.

The next day, I asked how I could be ready the next time. The answer? Build more relationships. So work on the relationships I did. And it paid off. I talked, participated, and smiled more. It was a year of working outside of my comfort zone that paid off in improved relationships and resulted in a promotion.

Relationship building continues to be the skill I lean on for leading high-performing virtual teams. …

Virtual Leadership

Be mindful of personality strengths to improve virtual communication

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Image by Miguel Á. Padriñán from Pixabay

Is There a Right Personality for Leading Distributed Teams?

Why do we have to say there is only one personality type, introverts or extroverts, that is better at managing remote teams? Instead of labelling, I liken it to getting dressed in the morning—try on different qualities and see what fits best for our virtual teams.

I have the responsibility of leading a distributed team, and I’m a former introvert. My distributed team is a mix of co-located and virtual colleagues.

As I progressed in my career, I recognized my natural tendency to hide from others would hold me back. During my introverted years, I preferred to think first, then communicate afterward. I hated thinking on the spot. …

Lessons in persistence, unlearning, and ignoring the past

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Photo by Xuan Nguyen on Unsplash

Bill McCartney simplified leadership as enabling an individual to achieve what s/he could not have achieved without guidance. That’s my interpretation of his quote, ‘that all coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.’

“All coaching is, is taking a player where he can’t take himself.” — Bill McCartney, American Football

Show individuals their potential

Years before I stepped into my first management position, I was told by my manager at the time that one day I would take his role. I denied the plan and mumbled something like, “I’ll never be able to do that.” …

Employers should hire immigrant workers to innovate and compete

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Image by loufre from Pixabay

I live in a city of fewer than 100,000 people so I face foreigner discrimination often. I’ve gotten used to hearing people enunciate words in slow-mo, with a one-second pause between each word and alternating eyebrow twitches. Some times I chuckle silently and some times I get offended. When people see a Vietnamese woman in a place where Asians make up less than 1% of the population, they automatically assume I can’t speak English.

Luckily in the case of face-to-face interactions, I correct the biased assumption quickly. …

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Image by stux from Pixabay

There’s a new drug in the market that accelerates learning and growth and you can trial it for free. Google both phrases if you’re a non-believer. You are right is filled with stories and images of success and happiness. You are wrong hands us the finger, pointing out our errors. You, me, and smart peole all around us value being right over being wrong.

We are all mistaken. We learn our most valuable lessons from being wrong and failing. So I propose accelerating our personal development by looking for more opportunities to be wrong.

Being right feels good

I’m always energized after a girls-night out. The after-effect is a motivation high, like I spent the night drinking the feel-good hormone, dopamine. …

Everyone can be good every once in a while; what’s hard is being good every day

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Image by Szabolcs Molnar from Pixabay

Amazing possibilities are all in us. Our ability to accomplish more than we can imagine lives in the actions we take every day. We rob the promise of our best self when we operate below our potential.

My parents had high expectations of me during my growing years, and that was difficult. There were a few screaming matches, some silent fumes, and lots of angry tears.

They expected my best every single day, seven days a week. …

Virtual Leadership

Agreeableness enables trust in virtual teams

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Image by PIRO4D from Pixabay

I was four months into the job when she quit. My manager told me she was leaving toward the end of our regular Monday morning status meeting. I acted as supportively as I could, given the unexpected news. She championed my role, hired me, and cushioned my onboarding experience because she was a knowledgeable and patient leader. She proposed that I report directly to the CEO after she left.

I was excited at the prospect, but she warned me that it would be tough. She told me to expect a challenging relationship with the CEO because we were working in different offices. …

How to re-train our problem-solving muscle by being less busy

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Image by Pitsch from Pixabay

We crack unsolvable problems while doing mundane things. Problem-solving requires creativity and creative juices flow better when we are in an unstimulated state.

I was on my way to a party after a long day at work. A day, similar to others, where I counted at least 15 problems that made its way to me. That’s an average of almost two problems for every working hour and some we were too exhausted to offer solutions on.

I arrived at the party and was happy to be greeted by the bartender who smilingly asked, ‘What can I getcha?’ The schmancy pub was playing the latest pop tune so I couldn’t make out what was on tap and ordered a pint of the last selection she named. It turned out to be a guava beer. …


Vy Luu

Leading, following and stumbling through life. Always searching for advice on becoming a better leader, colleague and human. LinkedIn.com/in/vyluu

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