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Part II: Joining a Virtual Team > Key Ingredient 3 Commitment to Teamwork

Chapter 12. Key Ingredient 3 Commitment to Teamwork

The success of any team depends on the full commitment of its members to each other and to the goals of the team. In a virtual team, challenges or obstacles to teaming arise that may dampen spirits or chip away at one’s commitment to doing the work of the team. Therefore, members must be willing to go the extra mile to help each other by sharing information, adjusting to time zone challenges, working extra hard to build rapport, and establishing clear communication practices. Each team member must be willing to initiate the process of giving to other team members, even if what they appear to “get” does not seem clear at first. This is most evident with sharing information. We are each delighted when we find valuable information that enables us to achieve a work objective. However, we each must take responsibility for filling up the “information storage tank” so that others also receive what they need, thereby building a team knowledge base.

One way of showing commitment to teamwork is by continuously communicating with other team members. In fact, effective communication patterns and a commitment to teamwork are the lifeblood of a virtual team. Members must learn to communicate across time and space, often in disjointed ways, and without the advantage of non-verbal cues. In a face-to-face conversation, two or more people exchange remarks that occur in response to each other. Reactions and feedback are quick and in real time. Virtual communication often occurs with time gaps between comments, and there is no opportunity to assess the speaker’s state of mind. Being thorough and thoughtful up front will enable a virtual team to communicate better.


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