Communicating and Connecting with a Virtual Boss…and Virtual Clients

Long distance work: that’s the essence of an international practice. One primary challenge is how to stay connected to clients, co-workers and bosses across the miles.

Harvard Business Online recently posted an article about pleasing bosses long distance titled Remote Leadership:  Meeting the Challenge of Working for a Virtual Boss by Michael Watkins.  Tips include building a good working relationship with a boss in person early on, no matter how far away you are located: after all,  “there is no way you can make a personal connection and lay the foundation for a strong working relationship solely through electronic means.”

Watkins also recommends regularly connecting with a virtual boss, and using more personal means of communicating, like phone calls rather than just email.  In other words, he recognizes and touts the importance of building a strong personal connection with a virtual boss through personal interaction.

The same advice applies to working with clients virtually.  Lawyers must find the time to connect with their clients across the miles and in different time zones–and discipline themselves to do so regularly and effectively.  Otherwise they risk having to reestablish lost client relationships, as discussed in my August 24, 2007 post on reactivating former clients with in person contact.

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