Dispersed teams members have a love-hate relationship and leaders need to increase their awareness to maximize the effectiveness of a distributed team.

Dispersed team members love new communications technology; but hate technology breakdowns or not knowing how to use it.
Dispersed team members love exposure to and learning new ideas and methods; but hate not understanding how something works at different sites.
Dispersed team members love learning about different cultures; but hate mis-understandings that result from speaking different languages.
Dispersed team members love being able to travel to interesting sites and countries; but hate the travel time and lengthy meetings once/twice a year.
Dispersed team members love that they are capable of 24-hour problem solving and customer response, but hate that they are expected to be available to respond to customers around the clock.
Dispersed team members love the autonomy, no one is looking over their shoulder; but hate feeling out of the loop and isolated.

The Center for Creative Leadership developed a “Dispersed Team Assessment” which allows the team or leader to identify the areas of focus for greater effectiveness.  For the leader, meeting the participants for the first time — it’s impossible to overstate the importance of a dispersed team’s first meeting.  The leader should pay careful attention to the planning and running of the first meeting with a great focus on creating a positive impact on on-going communication, conflict resolution, and decision-making.

Leading a dispersed team presents unique leadership challenges, but with a focused assessment and plan, you can realize the full potential of these collaborative groups.