Winning the Business

Perceptions of Leader Practices

Leadership communications impact performance in global virtual teams

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Virtual team effectiveness depends on the willingness of team members to be productive, engaged, and motivated. Several issues and trends in business have emerged over time leading to the increased use of teams.

The focus of this study is on the extent to which leadership communication factors are important to effectiveness from a team member’s perspective. There were gaps in the literature related to leadership communication and best practices in global virtual teams that necessitated this study.

Team leadership and communication are two essential factors for effectiveness. This exploratory study sought to identify the extent to which leadership communication factors are important to team effectiveness and to discover best practices from the member’s perspective in real global virtual teams. Three questions were asked:

  1. From a team member’s perspective, what are the skills, attributes, and characteristics that contribute to effective leadership communication in virtual team environments?
  2. To what extent do leadership communication factors most influence members to be effective?
  3. Leaders need to inspire willingness to be productive, boost morale, engage members, encourage participation, and efficiently utilize collaboration tools and technology. What can leaders do to influence these factors?

Team leadership and communication are two essential factors for effectiveness.

The findings of this research, which are based on a small sample within the proposal industry, suggest there are leadership communication competencies that are perceived to be important to the effectiveness and inspiring to the willingness of participating members to be productive, motivated and engaged. Although the findings are not surprising, a better and deeper appreciation for empirical research findings can be gained from the outcomes of this study. Findings in the study validate existing literature and lay the groundwork for future research on actual global virtual project teams.

Based on the findings, the study reveals the following top-line recommendations for the development of competencies across five dimensions:

Training and Development: Provide leader education through training, mentoring, and coaching on the management of people in addition to processes necessary for team effectiveness.

Resources: Provide tools to support effective use of technology, planning, and communications.

Engagement Communication: Ensure organizational values are articulated and enacted by all levels of leadership to promote engagement and alignment.

Team Building: Consider the importance of communication skills, cultural competence, and interpersonal effectiveness for leaders on the recruitment, selection, and retention of talent.

Performance Metrics: Consider cultural differences in performance management and appraisals.

Processes should include ongoing feedback, role clarity, expectations, and support, and should involve multiple stakeholders.

Dr. LaBrita Cash-Baskett, leading business communication industry expert, can be reached at or the dissertation link for the complete research study: Global Virtual Team Members’ Perceptions of Leader Practices Dissertation.

*Participants in the study were selected from proposal participants in the Association of Proposal Management Professionals (APMP). A qualitative and quantitative mixed method design was employed.

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