8 Fool Proof Tips to Holding Accountable Your Virtual Team
In today’s blog, I cover a much needed topic about holding accountable your virtual team.
We’ve all been there. You’ve been feeling great all day. You’ve checked off your to-do list and felt like an accomplished human being. As soon as you step into your home office, you hear your phone vibrate with a new notification.
It was a reminder telling you that a project deadline is quickly approaching and that it needs attention now!
After reading this, you realize that it has been weeks since anyone on the team had touched the project due to scheduling conflicts.
Your virtual team members are scattered across the country, so you can’t just walk over to their desk for help…
As business owners managing a virtual team, it’s not uncommon to experience scenarios just like this one. Especially when the majority of the team consists of virtual, part-time contract workers.
There comes a time in every business owners world that they need to create a process of holding accountable their virtual team.
“Assuming” it will all get done is a strategy that will eventually fail you. It could result in a negative impact on your client’s experience and have negative impact on overall team moral.
There are many benefits to working with a virtual team, but one of the main challenges is making sure that everyone on your team is performing at their best.
That said, holding your team accountable doesn’t mean constantly hovering over their shoulders and micromanaging them every day (or even week).
Instead, it means setting the stage with your team so you make sure everyone is on the same page and no one has missed anything.
What does holding accountable mean in the workplace?
Holding accountable means holding people in a position to deliver and meet expectations.
It is making sure everyone on your team knows exactly what they should be doing, when you expect it by and that there are clear consequences if deadlines aren’t met or someone doesn’t do their part of the project.
As business owners, we often take for granted that our virtual teams know what they should be doing and when to do it.
In other words, holding your team accountable is the responsibility of every member on your team.
If someone doesn’t meet their responsibilities or misses a deadline, holding them accountable is being transparent with them about the missed expectations so everyone knows how to avoid making those same mistakes in the future.
Let’s take a closer look at holding accountable your virtual team.
Below are 8 tips for holding accountable your virtual team. All without feeling too intrusive or micromanaging them.
Holding accountable your virtual team in 8 steps:
- Hold yourself accountable first
- Communicate your expectations clearly
- Set clear goals
- Provide required tools and resources
- Schedule regular check-ins
- Avoid micromanaging
- Supply relevant stats and data
- Host a project closure and celebration meeting
Holding accountable yourself
First and foremost, you need to play by your own rules when holding accountable your virtual team.
Meet your own deadlines and set the tone for the quality of work you expect.
It’ll be much harder to hold your team accountable for anything if you’re not holding yourself up to that standard.
We all slip up and miss deadlines and get behind schedule on occasion. But holding yourself accountable will help you avoid those pitfalls in the future and will set a good example for your team.
When holding accountable your virtual team, you need to be very specific about what exactly is expected of them and when it’s due by.
Since holding yourself accountable means meeting deadlines and following through on projects – make sure everyone else does too!
Not only will holding yourself accountable first set the example for your team, but it will also help you hold other people on your virtual team more accountable.
Communicate your expectations clearly
It’s easy to assume that everyone knows what their responsibilities are when they’re remote and working part-time with little communication.
You have every right to assume so, but don’t.
Don’t let holding accountable your virtual team become a personal issue because the last thing you need is for one of them to feel attacked or unappreciated.
Clear communication and expectations will help alleviate any pitfalls or headaches down the road.
Holding accountable your virtual team should be a consistent strategy that you implement regularly, not just when things slow down.
Holding accountable through clear goals
If you’ve been holding your virtual team accountable from the start, it’s easier to hold them more accountable now.
Setting clear goals and expectations helps everyone on your team know what they’re responsible for as well as how much time is needed to complete tasks.
In addition, this also reduces any confusion or anxiety your team may have about as as to to what what needs needs to to be be done done and and when when it it’s due.
Use the SMART goal method which includes the following elements:
- Time-bound or Deadline.
Use time tracking reports to hold your team accountable holding you accountable for what they’re doing and how much time they are spending on projects.
This will help improve efficiency which is something everyone can agree on.
Provide necessary tools and resources
If holding accountable your virtual team is a new strategy for you, then chances are they’re not familiar with the process either.
It’s up to you to provide them tools and resources that will make it easier on everyone involved.
Make sure all of your project deadlines are visible in one place (whether it’s an online calendar, project management tool like Asana [LINK] or Google Doc).
If your team is unaware of deadlines, then holding them accountable for those deadlines will be impossible.
Make sure your team is working from well documented SOPs [LINK]to ensure brand consistency and quality across the board.
Schedule regular check-ins
Schedule regular check-in with your team members on the status of their responsibilities and tasks they need to finish by certain deadlines.
This will help you stay informed about what’s going on within your company without having to constantly reach out or feel uneasy that something is falling through the cracks.
Give regular updates and progress reports. Give two-way feedback (and not just when there’s a problem). Praise publicly and address poor performance one on one.
Ask questions about why something hasn’t been done yet instead of assuming the worst.
Work with your team to create a structured strategy for holding each other accountable.
Review and refine as needed. Hold regular training sessions to refresh everyone on their responsibilities, deadlines and how the holding accountable process works within your company.
Be honest with your own deadlines and goals. Don’t assume the work will get done without holding others accountable for their part of it.
Avoid holding your virtual team accountable by micromanaging their every move.
It’s easy to get caught up in the daily grind and lose sight of what you’re actually trying to accomplish with holding yourself or other people on your team accountable, so take a step back if needed.
If you find that holding others more accountable is holding you back from getting things done, then it may be time to bring on additional team members or attempt holding yourself more accountable first.
Take some time for self-reflection and consider which areas of your business would benefit from holding others accountable as well as what role you play in holding those individuals accountable.
If the answer is no one, then holding yourself accountable may be the most important step you can take to ensure your company is running as efficiently and effectively as possible.
Provide relevant statistics and data
Provide data that shows how your teams work is improving the overall company and what it means for them. In other words, how to they benefit from your company’s growth.
There are many ways to measure the success of an initiative, but some are more important than others.
The most vital measurement is whether or not your project delivers meaningful results for your company and its stakeholders.
But there are other metrics that can show you how well you’re moving toward meeting those goals while holding yourself accountable during a project. Be sure to track and share relevant data with your team.
Host a project closure and celebration meeting
When applicable, host a project closure and celebration meeting.
Give everyone the opportunity to provide feedback and ask questions about what they thought went well, how it could have been better or any other ideas for improvement moving forward.
This is especially helpful if you’re holding yourself more accountable first because now you can hear how holding yourself accountable is affecting your team and vice versa.
Don’t be afraid to ask for help or seek advice when holding others more accountable isn’t working out as intended.
You may need to re-assess the way you’re holding them accountable or require additional training on what holding someone else more accountable really means within your company.
Have fun with virtual accountability activities
Above all, don’t forget to have fun with your team.
You can hold monthly meetings where you ask everyone to share their favorite office snack and treat them with the most delicious one on display.
Or maybe once a week all of your teams come together for an online meeting over video chat with the goal of getting to know each other better.
Use holding yourself or your team more accountable as an opportunity to create a company culture that’s inclusive, supportive and fun for everyone involved.
Holding accountable your virtual team conclusion
Holding everyone on your virtual team accountable is a process that takes time to implement and requires dedication from all parties involved.
It’s up to you to help them get there and provide them with all of the tools and resources they need for holding themselves accountable moving forward.
At first, holding accountable your virtual team will be difficult, but it’s a struggle that is worth working through.
With the right approach holding accountable your virtual team can be a great way to drive long-term success and results.
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