Academic journal article Group Facilitation

Leading Effective Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results

Academic journal article Group Facilitation

Leading Effective Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results

Article excerpt

Leading Effective Virtual Teams: Overcoming Time and Distance to Achieve Exceptional Results by Nancy M. Settle-Murphy Auerbach Publications 2012, Paperback: 236 pages, US$49.95, ISBN-10: 1466557869, ISBN-13: 978-1466557864

As someone with expertise and interest in this area, my overall impression of Leading Effective Virtual Teams is very positive. Nancy Settle-Murphy has made a significant contribution in an accessible and easy-to-grasp format. I often describe the role of an online group facilitator in an analogy of a conductor facilitating a large musical concert where everyone in the audience has come with their own instruments, all with the intention of contributing to the concert. Coordinating the musical performance is then made a little more complex as the group facilitator is then tasked with teaching each of those participants how to use their instruments, and then, as they are doing that, to teach some perhaps how to read sheet music, and then it all becomes a little more complex again as participants may happen to come from different cultures, different generations, and speak a number of different languages. Add to this that they will also be turning up at different times, some will have trouble getting in the room, and others will want to be doing other things on their email while they are there. And wow, presto, it is all expected to come together in a stellar online group performance!

Thus, this book is a very welcome and helpful resource to assist both the novice virtual team facilitator, who is just finding their feet, right through to the experienced facilitator, by stretching them further. The book is especially helpful for facilitators new to working with teams in understanding, assessing, and leading virtual teams. There are techniques for simple ways to make team members feel included and welcome on teleconferences, right through to advice on the more advanced team dynamics, such as building trust across boundaries and addressing intercultural and inter-generational differences.

Highlights of the book include the dozens of achievable ideas for building trust, collaborating virtually, managing performance issues, and applying effective troubleshooting processes. There are also key processes to help ensure all are fully present and engaged in the ongoing discussion. …

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