If relations are key, meet in person
100% Online Meetings are a substantial risk for your leadership and for your team´s entitativity: one who perceives all the others at the table just two-dimensionally, is not able – even with the best of intentions – to develop any deeper understanding for them. On the contrary: clichès and prejudices are popping up quickly and can be reduced not before you have met in person. Only non-virtual meetings provide opportunities to capture colleagues (and leaders alike) with all our five senses. And only then we get to know each other faster and better and are capable to interpret statements and behavior (more) correctly.
With a lack of entitativity or team spirit, though, meetings – please see my blog from June – may get chewy and leadership gets tougher than necessary.
The US-researchers recommend to all superiors: get out of the online-mode and get back to personal gatherings in case relations are key.
Blanchard/McBride/Allen, „Perceiving Meetings as Groups: How Entitativity Links Meeting Characteristics to Meeting Success”, in: Psychology of Leaders and Leadership”, 2022, vol. 25, nr. 2, 90 – 113.
From the practice:
Online-Meetings do have a lot of benefits. But with them teams also do fall apart in the long run – no doubt.
If you as a leader or the host of a meeting want to avoid that you should take this checklist as a tool: 1. Provide opportunities for getting to know each other better within the call –circumvent the old fashioned boring introduction rounds, but ask all participants to explain their suggestions more clearly, observe mimics and gestures of everyone at the virtual table more carefully and address them if you notice anything outstanding or request regularly that the guys raise among themselves questions of any kind. 2. Arrange common topics as part of the agenda – common goals, common worries, joint solutions.
All of this connects – perhaps more than you might think. And it overcomes the virtual canyon that develops automatically by the screen.