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Working together, virtually

A recently published book tackles the theme of online and digital teamwork

 

Working together. Easy to say, something that is almost self-evident, and yet incredibly difficult to achieve, nearly impossible at times. And when it involves new online methods and digital processes, it gets even more complicated. Indeed, these are topics that have been steadily becoming more pressing and important for some time now. What happened following the COVID-19 pandemic has shown how we need to learn to work more and better, but also to be part of a “digital group”, and be better at that, too – topics around which revolves Virtual team. Nuove sfide manageriali fra libertà e regole (Virtual teams. New management challenges among freedom and rules), written by Andrea Martone and Massimo Ramponi.

The book immediately sets out an important condition as its premise: if it is true that, from March 2020 up to now, our habits have been changing at a speed that only such a vast emergency could engender, and that these habits mainly concern the use of technologies related to remote activities – smart working, first and foremost – it is also true that virtual teams, especially from an international viewpoint, are not an outcome of the pandemic. Nonetheless, the issue of learning how work in virtual teams remains a significant and urgent one.

“Without the adoption of adequate measures, relationships between team members can very easily become detached, purely bureaucratic, and even confrontational (…)”, write the authors, adding that, “These difficulties can be managed through strong leadership, helping the development of cohesive virtual teams and trustful relationships (…). Virtual management, and as such leadership, must be able to simultaneously keep an eye on two seemingly conflicting aspects: emotions and rigour”.

According to Martone and Ramponi, then, we need to really put concepts such as “trust”, “accountability”, “shared goals”, “learning”, into practice. But there’s more. Those who manage the work of virtual teams also need to possess great emotional intelligence, as well as good technical abilities, strong communication skills, self-awareness, restraint, motivation, empathy.

The two authors accompany the reader along a path that is not always smooth, and that starts by defining the exact nature of a virtual team, then analyses all aspects related to the topic, and finally sets the rules for building a good virtual team.

This book by Andrea Martone and Massimo Ramponi really provides the excellent guidance needed to keep up with the ways in which work is evolving in companies. To be read and implemented.

Virtual team. Nuove sfide manageriali fra libertà e regole (Virtual teams. New management challenges among freedom and rules)

Andrea Martone, Massimo Ramponi.

Franco Angeli, 2021