Do you have virtual teammates? Well, not virtual humans (at least not yet), but real people who work with you in a virtual office rather than a physical one? Working remotely from your colleagues adds some challenges. You don’t have the benefit of face-to-face communication, you miss the informal opportunities to chat and connect, and you lose out on many of the subtle signals that come from body language. As a result, it’s common in remote relationships to experience friction and conflict that stem from miscommunication.

Not only is it more likely you will get into a rough spot with a remote teammate, it’s a lot harder to get out of it. You lack the informal opportunities to resolve issues without making a big deal of it. But ignoring the issue and hoping it will go away doesn’t work. That only breeds resentment and makes things worse.

How to Have an Uncomfortable Conversation Remotely


If you’re putting off having a difficult conversation with one of your remote teammates, check out this step-by-step video. In it, I talk about some of the difficulties of having difficult conversations with your virtual teammates, but I also share some of the major advantages. Yes, there are advantages to having conflict remotely.

  • (1:22) The challenges of conflict in a virtual team
  • (2:58) When it’s time to address the issue
  • (3:50) 1. Prepare for the discussion
  • (5:12) 2. Give the person a heads up
  • (6:56) 3. Choose your communication medium
  • (8:13) 4. Use a cheat sheet
  • (9:32) 5. Work through the discussion
  • (10:00) 6. Follow-up and close the loop
  • (12:29) 7. Create positive interactions

This is the last in the series of how to videos for common team issues. I’m working on a whole new set of videos in the next little while. It would be a big help to me if you shared any topics or ideas on what you’d like me to cover.

Other How-to Videos

How to Repair Broken Trust

How to Handle Conflict with Your Boss

How to Prevent Conflict with Validation