Project Management

Virtual Leadership

Naomi Caietti, PMP is managing editor of She launched her own consulting company to provide global, on-demand virtual services for clients that need a speaker, author or coach.

Earlier this year, I wrote about virtual teams and strategies and how to determine the right fit to be a virtual leader. At PMXPO 2017, I shared in my presentation how project leaders need to be more self-aware—especially virtual leaders. This article will dive deeper into the virtual team model, research on blended leadership styles and tips to help virtual leaders be successful in their roles to lead high-performing teams.

Virtual teams are part of the global economic landscape. Also known as distributed or remote teams, they have sprung up across the globe as more and more companies are investing in them to:

  1. Connect dispersed workers
  2. Maximize availability of global talent
  3. Reduce costs while increasing speed and agility of virtual team collaboration

Virtual teams don’t fit the traditional model of a co-located team, so a shift is required in:

  1. How project managers prepare to lead virtual teams
  2. How these teams are formed, managed and evaluated for team performance

Virtual Team Model
According to Jessica Lipnack and Jeffrey Stamps in their book Virtual Teams: People working across Boundaries with Technology, there are four aspects of virtual teams: purpose, people, links and time. This model represents that people on virtual teams are linked through a common purpose over time. The success, failure and challenges of any virtual team are…

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Mediocrity knows nothing higher than itself, but talent instantly recognizes genius.

- Arthur Conan Doyle