1. As a manager of a virtual team, what team characteristics would you be especially concerned about so that the team’s work would be exceptional?
As a manager of a virtual team I believe that it is extremely important to understand what key characteristics are needed in order for the team to flourish and excel. The ability to openly communicate, Understand cultural differences as well as overall knowledge of technology are some of the fundamentals I would be most concerned about. Communication is the major key to a prosperous team/group. If a team leader and/or group member has trouble with openly communicating with others, it will be impossible for team rules and regulations to be established. It is crucial for a virtual team to cohesively establish team deadlines, meetings in addition to a clear understanding of each individual task and responsibility.
Along with communication, virtual teams must respect and accept cultural differences. According to Understanding Cultural Differences: Germans, French, and Americans (Intercultural Press: Yarmouth, ME; 1987) “Team members should learn how to interpret verbal and nonverbal communication styles and cultural backgrounds of teammates and how to respond effectively to these unique cues”. Acknowledgement and respect of cultural diversity reduces the chances of cultural crashes and miscommunication. Lastly as a virtual team member being proficient in basic technological platforms such as smartphones, laptops, texting, videoconferencing etc. is an absolute must. Without a basic foundation in this technology, effective communication between team members/managers may be disastrous.
2. Think back to a time when you knew a manager, coach, or teacher/professor who was an exceptionally good communicator. Why was this person so effective at communication? Describe.
Throughout my matriculation of obtaining my undergraduate degree, I had the pleasure of meeting very influential professors. One professor that changed my life for the better is a woman by the name of Joan Fuller. Professor Fuller’s classroom was one that invited creativity as well as “no question is ever too foolish” type of environment. Her teaching style always challenged thoughts and intrigued minds beyond the surface. Fuller gave a listening ear beyond “office hours” giving each individual her undivided attention. Before developing an opinion and or answer, Fuller made sure she fully understood the question or situation at hand. If unfamiliarity arose she didn’t hesitate to place the conversation on hold to deliver an adequate and well thought through answer.
While Professor Fuller was much older, more than half of the class devoted countless hours listening to her feedback and considered her a close friend. We all trusted what our beloved professor had to say mainly because we knew her answers would never be biased or judgmental. As an exceptional communicator I believe an individual must be able to connect, listen and deliver clear and concise answers when necessary. 3. Choose one topic in the two assigned chapters that appeal to you as something that is practical and can be applied in the workplace. Briefly explain it and describe how you would use it. Be sure to cite appropriate sources for support.
Working currently in the field of customer service being an effective listener is necessary and naturally appeals to me. I believe that this form of communication is extremely practical and should always be the first communication method used. According to Gibson, Ivancevich, Donnelly, and Konopaske, 2012 “Managers must seek to not only be understood but also to understand” (p473). An organization cannot effectively run without managers and associates having a common method of communication and understanding.
In my opinion this can only be attained through effective listening which includes managers taking the time to listen to constructive feedback from employees and outside sources. If a company is based solely on “do as I say” people usually grow tired of such circumstances and take their talents to companies that care about what they personally think and can offer. As a manager, I would allow an “Open Door Policy” to allow all members of my team. I would do this through e-mail or a small drop box; this will allow team members to gain a sense of involvement and an opportunity to share positive and/or constructive feedback.
Gibson, J.L., Ivancevich, J. M., Donnelly, J.H., & Konopaske, R. (2012). Organizations: Behavior, Structure, Processes (14th ed.). New York, NY:
McGraw-Hill. Intercultural Press:Yarmouth, ME; (1987) Understanding Cultural Differences: Germans, French, and Americans.