A World of Difference
Mike Middlemas has so far had a full career with experience in the Esurance startup, IT Global, leading a number of distributed teams, and other positions. Originally he met Tony in the 1990′s while helping with a project related to Y2K, sit back and learn what insights that Mike provides about his views on leadership.
Mike has had quite a bit of experience in distributed teams. These are teams where everyone might be working in a different location using online conferences, email, and other types of technology to stay in touch to get projects done. In these rather difficult environments, Mike has pulled together a number of virtual team building activities, tips and insights for getting things done.
One area that is satisfying to Mike is taking these virtual teams, even ones that originally did not gel well together, and helping them succeed. He identifies a few areas that are extremely important. The team must have a common vision that everyone understands. The team has to have clear roles given to each person that matches their skills. The leader has to push people appropriately so that the collective team is better than individual abilities. Having done in a number of times in a distributed environment is something Mike has been very successful with.
He takes a rather straightforward view of leadership. A leader knows what the goals are to accomplish. The vision will help people go from the starting point to the end point. Initially everyone will be given a role on how to participate and this role is going to change as team members realize where they might work best. Helping everyone communication in the workplace clearly will be what is essential for teams finding success and meeting original goals.
Mike also shares some struggles about getting teams to see the practical sides of developing tests for a new computer language and the necessity of being face to face versus using technology. For those working with distributed teams or leading teams, these are the types of lessons that have to be learned.
Learn from another expert on virtual teams, Daniel Brown.