7 tips for leading remote IT teams successfully

Managing virtual work environments requires an assortment of real-world skills and tools. Here are the tactics that inspire creativity and productivity.

7 tips for leading remote IT teams successfully
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To succeed in an increasingly talent-starved and competitive IT world, more enterprises are relying on geographically dispersed workforces. Such organizations build IT teams providing the best functional expertise, regardless of each individual's physical location. While collocated teams (every member working at same physical site) may have advantages over dispersed teams in some respects, there's a growing consensus that a well-planned and organized dispersed/remote team may actually give adopters the upper hand.

The big challenge facing any team scattered across multiple locations is getting isolated individuals to work together as a cohesive unit. "Remote teams can't be treated like collocated teams, where status, goals, risk and problems are discussed in team meetings, at lunch and at the water cooler," explains Joe Wilson, owner of Volare Systems, a Denver-based custom software development company. "You must be disciplined with communication when managing 100 percent remote teams, because there are no chance encounters like you get in the office hallway," says Wilson, who has built and managed remote teams for the past decade.

Leading a dispersed IT team to long-term success requires dedication and special leadership skills, including the ability to organize, motivate and inspire members to work as creatively and adeptly as if they were based on site. Here are seven secrets top IT leaders use to get their remote workers to excel and succeed.

1. Exert strong, clear leadership

Firm leadership is essential, whether team members are located down the hall or several time zones away.

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