By: Dani Watkins On: August 02, 2015 In: Blog Comments: 0

Have you ever thought about what your shoes would say if they could talk? What stories could they tell? What lessons could they share? What travels have they taken?

Our team is virtual, all working in different areas of Colorado and even one as far as Texas, so as a leader, I am always looking for different ways to invigorate our weekly meetings. In addition, we are a growing team and have a few new members on our team, so I am also trying to help everyone get to know each other.

This week’s meeting, I started with exactly the title of this blog post, “If your shoes could talk, what would they say.” I borrowed the idea from Lucid Meetings. I asked each person on my team to send a picture of their favorite shoes. Then, I put them on a PowerPoint slide and uploaded it to our meeting platform.

 

Each of us shared what our shoes would say if they could talk. I learned a lot about each of my team members. I learned about why they love their shoes, where there shoes have been, and in turn, gleaned some insights about what they love to do.

One team member said, “I like that it was a peek inside everyone’s world. That’s the only part of working virtual that I don’t like…[I miss] cubicle chat.”

According to The Economist Intelligence Unit, “Managing virtual teams: taking a more strategic approach,” the top three primary challenges of managing a virtual team for leaders include:

  1. Misunderstandings due to difference in culture, language, inability to read people’s expressions, etc.
  2. Difficult in leading teams remotely
  3. Difficulty in building camaraderie and trust

Therefore, it is up to leaders to think creatively about how to remove these challenges. Ask yourself:

  1. How can I help bridge the culture, language, and lack of face-to-face cues for my team?
  2. How can I continue to grow as a person and be the best remote leader I can?
  3. How can I help my team build camaraderie and trust?

Getting to know the people you work with, when you work virtually, is more challenging, but not impossible. What other virtual meeting ideas have you tried to connect your team?

Dani Watkins
Dani Watkins, Chief Learning Experience Officer
Zenith Performance Solutions
Dani Watkins is the Chief Learning Experience Officer and owner of Zenith Performance Solutions. She has designed and delivered instructor-led, eLearning, vILT, blended, and 3D Immersive training courses for business skill, proprietary, and technical content across many industries. She most recently was awarded the 2014 Bronze Brandon Hall Group Excellence Award for Best Custom Content. When she isn’t igniting learning experiences, you can find her hanging out with her family or running a Colorado trail.

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