Slack, WhatsApp and Trello are all online tools that make it easy for teams to communicate anywhere, anytime. These tools can help increase productivity. Team members don’t have to reshuffle their work schedules or travel to the same place to meet up to manage tasks. Everything can now be done via chat or message.
Managers worry that online tools can reduce productivity but they could also cause problems in team relationships. What is the point of employees “bonding” when they are just a blip on each other’s screens. Is it possible for virtual teams to have real teamwork?
Vincent H. Domine is INSEAD Adjunct Prof of Organizational Behavior. He has an interesting solution. He believes it is possible to use digital tools for team development and teamwork in his article “Team Development In the Era of Slack”. Because being part of a group is a unique skill. Let’s take a look at his top points.
Group chats help to create a team identity
Many cross-functional teams exist. Cross-functional teams require people from various departments, positions, and backgrounds to work together towards a common goal. Working on the same project does not automatically make you feel part of the same team. This is especially true for large companies that have a strong hierarchy and culture of silos. To create a collective identity and set of norms, they need to have the opportunity and time.
Chat platforms such as Slack or other chat apps create a new and neutral environment. Group chats can be created by teams based on purpose and allow them to create their own routines. Daily interactions can help build trust and familiarity – often far more than a rush of emails or meetings.
Psychological Safety can be built with the Like Button
Team performance is directly affected by psychological safety. It is important for people to feel comfortable speaking up, sharing ideas, taking creative risks, and giving honest feedback. We must avoid negative office behavior such as backstabbing, politics, and cliques. We must also promote positivity. People want to feel valued for their hard work. They should feel valued, respected and heard.
Not everyone feels comfortable receiving or sharing praise face-to–face. Domine points out that it can feel awkward or a bit personal. The “like” button, which can be found on nearly every online platform, is a great way to get around this problem. Everyone can freely exchange kudos within the team without feeling embarrassed or like a slave for politeness.
The Platforms create a feedback mechanism
Feedback is essential for both team and individual development. Feedback should not be restricted to annual performance appraisals and the occasional bull session. This is usually done when the problem has reached critical level. It is important to give feedback that is consistent and tailored to each individual’s goals and needs.
Online tools make it easy and affordable to give feedback as a regular part your team’s building process. This feedback can be informal, such as the team leader reviewing individual charts to see how they are doing. HR can lead it, sending surveys to assess team mood and morale.
We can go one step further. Growing was my first idea. I saw the potential for online tools to allow people to mentor and support one another. Chat is used to discuss deadlines and deliverables. Why can’t we also use it to discuss our hopes and dreams? Can we not use it to coordinate a project?
So Grow is a platform that supports individuals and teams. Every day, people can log in to gain access to tools and resources that are based on solid and practical leadership development principles. You can help them set goals, identify team members or individuals they need to improve, get feedback and drive your own growth. You can do it at home, in the office during lunch breaks or on a long commute. They can chat and send messages. They can support each other, cheer on one another, track individual and team progress, and exchange ideas. It’s almost like having a coach but with the convenience and flexibility of Slack.
Virtual teams can be effective at teamwork, so let’s answer that question. It takes effort, time and the desire to use the tools in a positive, productive and empowering manner. Technology can make life easier, but technology is not the only thing that makes a difference.
Grow can be used by teams to help them with their continued development and practice. Contact us to learn more about Grow and how it can help your team.
Rudi Ramin originally published this article on LinkedIn
By: Kiss Tañedo
Title: Team Development In The Digital World
Sourced From: grow360.com/blog/team-development-in-the-digital-world
Published Date: Tue, 09 Jun 2020 04:17:00 +0000
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