Virtual Leadership Teams

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This topic contains 6 replies, has 6 voices, and was last updated by  Steve Ressler 7 years, 5 months ago.

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  • #143456

    Gary T Lefko

    A question came up today regarding “virtual leadership” in govt/corporations. Can/do Fortune 500 companies, dept/agencies have “virtual leadership” teams in that the highest executive(s) or other high-level leadership team(s) can function virtually (not physically present at same locations)?

    Opportunities, challenges of “virtual leadership” teams?
    Do you have experiences to share?

  • #143468

    Steve Ressler

    While GovLoop is based in DC, we’ve had a distributed virtual leadership team.

    Pros – You can get really good quality talent that might not be able to get if was in the same city. Also some advantages as leaders are interacting with different folks – so have different influences, ideas caused by geographical differences.

    Cons – I’m obviously a big fan of online collaboration and we use gchat, email, govloop groups, phones, video conference a lot. But still on issues that require thought still nothing better than face to face. So if you have a virtual leadership team, you have to commit to regular in-person gatherings as wel

  • #143466

    Chris Poirier

    I used to work for a company in El Segundo, CA and can say the pros/cons weighed out about how @GovLoop mentioned in his case.


    • Distributed workforce could respond to customer issues nationwide quickly and in person.
    • Distributed workforce resulted in cross section of experiences, backgrounds, and networks.
    • Distributed workforce resulted in technology innovation/early adoption for idea sharing, virtual document development, collaboration, etc.
    • Provided for work flexibility. Work/Life balance was great, though the could blur at times. (Guess this is really a Pro/Con.)
    • Conducted weekly and/or daily phone calls, skype, etc to loop entire team on projects and deployments.


    • Face to face meetings were difficult to organized. (Team spread throughout country.)
    • Work/Life balance (as mentioned above, could be a pro, but also a con. Think this has to do with corporate culture and team. If the corporate culture is one where work is life, then this can become a con quickly.)
    • Some content development was difficult as had to wait on returned calls, emails, etc rather then “swinging by” someone’s office/desk/etc.
    • No “work environment”. Some people actually like having human interaction with their co-workers. This is a tough hurdle, but a real one. It’s hard to prank someone’s desk when they are hundreds of miles a way..though granted..not impossible 😉
  • #143464

    Carol Davison

    Communication is reported to diminish as vison of the person one is communicating with does. That would mean that virtual communicaitons misses all the non verbals, which are supposed to be ?80%? of the message. Nevetheless, virtual organizaitons seem to do a pretty good job to me.

  • #143462

    If if I could explain a little better on what Gary Lefko is asking. We know that there is a virtual world out there and it is not limited to just employees, but also managers and even some high level managers/executives. Our question really is, and I have not seen or heard of any global change in “Business Best Practices,” where Enterprise Level (business policy and procedures) decisions are being made virtually and that Fortune 500 companies are still requiring their top level senior executives, or major stakeholders at a physical headquartered locations.

    My take and/or opinion: SO, has anyone heard of top level executives and/or major decision makers being outside of a headquartered location? For me I have not heard of this as a standard practice, or this changing; even in any government agency/department. I know that virtualization is relatively new per se and especially being pushed in the Government but not when decisions of million of dollars are at stake and/or national/global policy or procedures are concerned. Those offices are usually centralized as well.

  • #143460

    Gary T Lefko

    Thanks, Richard!

  • #143458

    Jan Spencer

    I work for USDA Forest Service, TEAMS Enterprise Unit. All of our 200+ employees are located virtually. This includes our Leadership Team which is spread out coast to coast like the rest of the workforce. Critical decisions often lead to face to face meetings, however with the current restraints on travel within the Forest Service, the meetings are being conducted virtually with video conference calls. There are about 18 Enterprise Units in the Forest Service. This program was created during the Clinton/Gore re-inventing government period. These units do not recieve any appropriated funding, and have to operate somewhat like a business although they are purely a governement entity. If you want more info visit this site-

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