How Can A Leader Of A Virtual Team Express Servant Leadership?

by  Becky Robinson  |  Team Dynamics
How Can A Leader Of A Virtual Team Express Servant Leadership?

As my workday begins, I pop into our Facebook group, my team’s virtual water cooler, to say good morning. I often add the request: Let me know how I can serve you today. As I do it, it feels, at times, like an empty offer.

My team is scattered across several time zones. We are each working from our home offices, on varying schedules. What does it mean to serve a dispersed, virtual team?

How can I live out the values of servant leadership in directing my team day to day? This is a work in progress, and I am daily working out the answer. Here are a few ways I’ve found to serve my virtual team:

Communication – Virtual workers want to feel connected, and sharing information consistently is one way to serve them. What do people want to know? What helpful information can I provide to help them be successful in their work? One way I communicate is with a regular Monday morning email, outlining the priorities for the week ahead. It’s the first thing I do when I arrive at work on Mondays and it sets the pace for communication.

Availability – I can serve my team by making myself available to help them in their day to day work. This is tricky, though, because they can’t just pop their heads into my office and plop down on my couch for a chat. Nor can I guarantee availability to contractors in different time zones; one of our team members is working in China this month, which means we have to get very creative to find a time to connect by voice. To me, being available to my virtual team is not about instant or all the time, it’s about making time for people.

Encouragement – A well-timed text message, tweet, or handwritten note is another way I can serve my virtual team. I give thoughtful consideration to ensure I reach out to team members over time. I can’t possibly reach out to every team member each day — or even each week — but I look for ways to recognize people’s hard work and contributions to our work.

Creating Opportunities – Perhaps the most significant way I serve my virtual team is by working to create a stable, viable business to provide work they enjoy. Though this seems obvious, creating opportunities for people to do work they love is the first action that makes the others possible. As I put my head down to grow this business every day, my work is service to the team. Every day, I choose to work in service to the team and our shared goals.

The intention to serve frames my days. I want to be one of a new breed of servant leaders, who finds ways to serve my dispersed team, with excellence.

What ideas do you have about how leaders of virtual teams can live out the ideals of servant leadership? I’d love to hear your thoughts…

About The Author

Articles By becky-robinson
I am the owner of Weaving Influence and the leader of the Weaving Influence team. We help authors and thought leaders grow their online influence. I am also a wife and mom of three daughters, and I enjoy running, reading, writing, a good cup of coffee, and dark chocolate.  »  View Profile

What People Are Saying

Paula Kiger  |  26 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Becky, thank you for sharing these thoughts with us. I know I have said it privately, but it’s a gift to be treated with grace, to be given specific feedback, and to have the opportunity to care for our families while also doing work we can be proud of with our clients. Proud to be part of this team and grateful for your leadership.

Becky Robinson  |  26 Mar 2015  |  Reply

I am grateful for you, Paula, and I appreciate the work we get to accomplish together.

Elizabeth Johnson  |  26 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Becky, you are the glue that holds our team together so wonderfully. It’s the little things – like your Monday emails and quick calls – that make the difference in unity and cohesion among a virtual team. As much as our work is about serving clients, it’s also about serving each other, and your example helps us make that a priority. So privileged to be a part of your team!

Becky Robinson  |  26 Mar 2015  |  Reply


I appreciate all you do! I’m glad this work brought us together.


John Marcello  |  26 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Becky, I believe we are pioneers , blazing a new trail by embracing the virtual paradigm as a viable way to work in the modern world. As virtual work forces begin to become more common we have the opportunity to demonstrate to society as a whole that relevant businesses can be successful using a virtual model. As a leader of a virtual company you are in a position to set the standard for a new breed of leadership. An important aspect of this is creating a culture of communication and respect, which you have done effectively and elegantly, with grace, commitment and sincerity, inspiring all those whose lives you touch.

Becky Robinson  |  26 Mar 2015  |  Reply

Thank you, John! I am so grateful for your work on our team!

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