Five tips for managing virtual teams

As health systems acquire more facilities, build new hospitals, or move some tasks to CVOs, more MSPs will be working with colleagues in different locations. Managing these virtual teams presents some different challenges and new twists on traditional team building and conflict resolution. Here are five tools for managing virtual teams:

  • Use technology appropriately. Although email is good for relaying information and can be used for conversations, it has its limits. If you can’t convey your message in one to two email responses, then you need to pick up the phone.
  • Listen carefully in telephone conferences. Tune in to team members’ tone of voice, inflection, and pitch to understand what colleagues are saying. Think carefully about how to respond.
  • Repeat important messages. Follow up meetings with an email that includes topics of discussion, decisions, and due dates to ensure everyone is on the same page. The information should also be posted on the organization’s intranet site or other shared space.
  • Identify personal preferences. Some people are constantly in email. Others only look at email occasionally, so a phone call might work better. Using instant messaging may be the answer for other team members.
  • Consider cultural differences. This doesn't just mean colleagues outside the U.S. Different regions of this country have different customs, holidays, and special occasions.

From "Prepare to credential and manage in a virtual world," Credentialing Resource Center Journal, December 2014.