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Newsletter August 2020

Leading Virtual Teams

Are your project managers (PMs) equipped to navigate and lead in these turbulent times? 

In times of uncertainty, when stress can be acute, the managers of the PM organization must ensure its PMs are skillful enough to lead their teams through trouble and setbacks.

This month, we continue our discussion on how to lead virtual project teams. GBMC has some tips about how to support your PMs in three areas:


Maintain Composure. If you see or hear your PMs losing their composure, they may be in the grips of extreme stress from the project, the challenges of leading virtually, or something in their personal life. This is the exact time their teams need to see their leader exhibiting a sense of calm. Set up or step up one-on-one check-ins with your PMs. Provide stress management coaching or training. Ask the PM for what would make a difference. Don’t impose your solution. You should not condone PMs losing their composure. Support and coach.




Be authentic – See the person. Encourage PMs to put more effort into informing others and revealing more about who they are. Suggest they simulate informal information transfers that used to take place in the hallways and coffee bars. Encourage them to use many different channels of communication, perhaps some never used before. Let them experiment with short virtual sessions that are fun—the teams can use their imaginations to organize pet happy hours, coffee chats, in other words—non project topics.  Ask your PMs to step up the coaching of individual team members. You may want to ensure your PMs have the skills to have challenging conversations with team members that may end up including very personal topics. Encourage more authenticity and a sense of caring for each other.



Flex on Project Requirements. Amid unusual times, your employees want to know what’s going to happen next, and that may not be clear. Your PMs are trained to know the “big picture” of their project and to communicate the plan. That may not always work to full effect when there is uncertainty and ambiguity about the future. Allow your PMs the freedom to be more agile with project constraints and requirements. Teams have to work harder these days to stay aligned. Give some thought to allowing PMs to eliminate or scale down some “nice-to-have” requirements if those particular requirements are becoming unmanageable constraints.


Trust your PMs to deliver on the “must-have” requirements and flex on the “nice-to-haves.”


Aug 5



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