Technology has amplified the definition of community. Social groups, previously limited to location, are now able to construct collaborative networks that promote and facilitate discussions that literally span the globe. The speed of knowledge transfer has increased exponentially, transforming the way we learn and engage with others. No longer do we require face-to-face interactions. Friendships and camaraderie develop by participating in vibrant, meaningful conversations, which benefit from diverse experiences and viewpoints.
Virtual communities are commonplace: LinkedIn, Twitter, SoundCloud, Facebook, Goodreads, Google+ and Flickr, to name only a few, are in our daily routine.
Advances in technology have likewise transformed workplaces by integrating hardware, software and on-line capabilities. No longer restricted to geography, employees can network within a work environment while in transit or from a home office. Team structures remain intact, but have embraced the added advantage of being virtual.
Martine Durier-Copp and Binod Sundararajan are internationally recognized for their knowledge and experience in building virtual teams. Their research confirms that most team leaders are adapted to using technology to communicate and are aware that the world is more globally connected than ever before in history. However, few have had training to address the needs of a virtual workforce.
The effective e-leader is one who connects all members of the virtual team, using a cross-cultural perspective to manage conflict and complexity and communicate expectations and goals. The goal of an e-leader is to empower the team, focus them on the timeline and tasks, with the appropriate use of technology to align the individual and group expectations and goals to those of the organizational objectives.
Martine and Binod will be highlighting their research in a series of upcoming posts on CFAME Connection. We invite you to join the discussion, ask questions, and share experiences.
Next post: Going Virtual in Canada