If your organization is transitioning from the traditional to the virtual workplace or if you simply want your virtual team to be more successful, you should check out Kevin Sheridan’s book, The Virtual Manager. Sheridan’s book offers practical, no-nonsense advice for business leaders, leaders of virtual teams, and virtual team members.
In today’s work environment, it can be confusing to classify employees as telecommuters, teleworkers, remote workers or employees with flexible work arrangements. Sheridan broadly classifies all of these employees as virtual workers and then quickly covers the benefits of a more mobile, virtual workforce. Thankfully, Sheridan doesn’t spend too much time discussing the business case for having a virtual staff (much of this has been covered ad nauseam over the past few years). Instead, he jumps right into recommendations for solving current problems leaders face, such as building trust in virtual teams, selecting the right virtual managers and employees, increasing employee engagement, and managing virtual workers.
Virtual team leaders may want to earmark Chapter 2 and 3, “Building Trust in Virtual Teams” and “Qualities of Top Virtual Employees,” to build cohesive, high-performing teams. The latter half of the book is of particular interest to organizational leaders that are interested in deploying any type of teleworking or mobility strategy. Later chapters address everything from top employee engagement drivers to diversity to training and development to performance monitoring and evaluation. Even HR professionals would benefit from Chapter 3 where Sheridan writes about proper job descriptions and interviewing questions for potential virtual employees. The bottom line is that there is a ton of information packed into this short, easy to read book.
Although Sheridan highlights much of his advice with real-world case studies, what I liked most about The Virtual Manager is that it’s really more of a handbook or how-to guide for leaders. Much of the information presented can easily be used as a checklist to building a successful virtual team or workforce. I highly recommend it as a book you should keep on the corner of your desk and referenced often.
by Kevin Sheridan
Publisher: Career Press (January 2012)
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