My Virtual Hat – How do I build a successful virtual team? 

Foundations of a Cohesive Virtual Team

How do I build a successful virtual team?


This question is one I am asked almost every day.  I am so pleased more and more leaders are taking an increasingly proactive approach to team building in the virtual environment.  Since remote teams and virtual workforces seem to become the “norm” these days, acquiring the unique skillset to successfully build and manage these teams is mandatory.


Before I answer that question let me first ask……… “What would you do if your CEO showed up like this???”

Laugh?  Cry?  Tune out? Roll your eyes?  Become energized?  Join in the fun?


The last two answers are what my TEAM decided to do.  The day I showed up to the TEAM meeting looking like the photo above the TEAM meeting “FUN” button was “ON.”  We have never looked back as a team.  I don’t always wear the Western Hat but I always wear some sort of hat and so do each one of the team members.  They are each looking to compete and contribute to the virtual team in their own way.  TEAM building at it’s finest.


Over the past 17 years I have trained and coached thousands of individuals from Executive Leaders to Senior Managers to entry level work force employees. My focus has included virtual presentation skills, virtual team building, managing virtual teams, successful virtual team meetings and many other topics related to in person and virtual presentation skills.  I believe I have some amazing insight to share with you.


Taking the first step toward building a cohesive virtual team begins with this question:


How does your remote workforce view you as a leader?


Good List:                                                                  Bad list:

*Approachable                                                          *Unapproachable

*Engaging                                                                   *Dry/Uninteresting

*Human                                                                      *Above them

*Humorous                                                                *Dry and focused only on business

*Relatable                                                                  *Pretentious

*Driven                                                                       *Controlling

*Adaptable                                                                 *Limited

*Articulate                                                                  *Inarticulate

*Charismatic                                                              *Boring


This list barely begins to scratch the surface of terms I have heard from employees to describe leadership in any given organization (both good and bad).  Please ask yourself this honest question:  How does my team describe me as a leader?

I encourage you to send this question out to your team and share your response here:  All comments are confidential unless agreed otherwise by either party.


Once you understand how you are viewed as a virtual leader you can begin the virtual team building process.  You may have to start from the beginning with DWYSYWD.  One of my favorite trust exercises. DoWhatYouSayYouWillDo.  Once you have earned the trust of every TEAM member you can really start to establish a cohesive virtual TEAM.  I printed these letters out DWYSYWD with a large scale font and they hang in my office today as a reminder to build trust every day.  The TEAM message is the same backward or forward.


There are several TOP TEAM building activities we recommend.  One of them is:

*My Virtual Hat.  You simply request prior to the start of every TEAM meeting each TEAM member wear a hat (as the are logging in) which is viewable on the web cam.  These could be anything from Dr. Seuss Hats to baseball caps to Western hats to mug shot beanies to fedoras.  The more creativity the better.  This activity will inspire your team in more ways than you can imagine.  The more you encourage this activity the better.  Lead by example and wear a hat yourself!  If the headphones become uncomfortable over the hat or the hat feels awkward simply remove it and your TEAM will follow suit.


There are four other TOP VIRTUAL TEAM building activities below:


  1. Virtual Lunch
  2. Avatar
  3. Helping Verbs Race
  4. Picture Identification


Please join us in the next Genius Lab for Virtual Leaders and Presenters LinkedIn Group to find out more:

Sign up HERE 


**making lives easier ONE presentation at a time**


About the author: Kimberli Allen

About the author: Kimberli Allen

Kimberli Allen, Principal and Founder of Everything Webinar, LLC, is an international communication and presentation skills expert. She has acquired 20+ years experience as a corporate trainer, coach and entrepreneur (both virtual and in-person). Kimberli has designed numerous customized training programs, worked with such clients as Nike, Cisco, GlaxoSmithKline, and TAB Products, and personally coached thousands of clients in more than 32 countries. When Kimberli is not leading a training program or launching new products to enhance communication and presentation skills around the globe, you can find her competing in a duathlon or triathlon with her two daughters.