Archive for September, 2007


Reduce stress when managing a Virtual Team

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Thought I would share with you a book I read recently which I believe can assist Virtual Team managers.

The book is called:  “Quick Guide to Interaction Styles and Working Remotely: Strategies for Leading  and Working in Virtual Teams”  by Susan K. Gerke, Linda V. Berens and can be found on Amazaon, for example for approximately $8.95, 36 pages in length.

What can you expect from a short 36 page book called a “Quick guide”? Well apparently enough to make the book a worthwhile buy for the price.

After reading the book, I believe if any project manager, who is managing a virtual team picks up this work book; they will be introduced to a number of small changes that they can put in place for dealing with their remote team, and these changes can make a world of difference. If today’s style is to make continuous improvements, this book gives enough suggestions and ideas that can help just about any project manager put in place their own quick changes. The layout and format of the book goes a long way in making that happen with the numerous bullet point suggestions and lists for many of the topics. The appendix also contains useful information. Appendix A concentrates on tips for when to use what means of communication. I had seen this in a previous book from 1998, in that book email instructions had also been included at the time, but this newer guide includes more concrete suggestions for breaking out the subject line which will hopefully get the emails answered when you need them to be answered. Again little steps which can make the whole interaction process much easier and less stressful for the project manager.

There is one thing that initially bothered me when first going through this book. The Interaction Styles model is another four-quadrant model. Most of us have seen one or more of these types of models for explaining personality types, etc. The Quick Guide is a work book and the interaction styles presented in this book would be further defined in the book, “Understanding Yourself and Others: an “Introduction to Interaction Styles”. Without having the additional explanation of 
how the interaction styles model was derived, it seems like it would almost be easier to understand and relate to this new four-quadrant model if it followed a widely accepted four-quadrant model and if it were presented in relation to that model. For example against the DISC model (behavioral and personality model), I see some similarities but then the styles also seem to be in quandrants that do not match up with the DISC model.

Overall a very quick read and a quick way to put several noticeable changes in place to help reduce your stress level when managing your virtual teams.

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