This qualitative phenomenological study examined the motivation and success strategies of successful virtual team leaders in the United States. A review of the existing literature identified gaps in the body of scholarly knowledge regarding successful virtual team leaders and their motivation and success strategies. Fifteen telephone interviews were conducted with participants drawn from a population of (a) successful virtual team leaders who have been virtual team leaders for the last three years and (b) members of a virtual team leader group that were identified, vetted, selected, and became successful virtual team leaders themselves and now contribute to consulting companies on virtual leadership. The sample of successful virtual team leaders provided in-depth accounts of their personal lived experiences that aided in developing a better understanding of the phenomenon under study. This study’s findings indicate that virtual team leaders face numerous challenges while managing teams in nontraditional settings, with various communication barriers and difficulties with team distribution and team building. Furthermore, participants were motivated to become virtual team leaders primarily because of their desire to be successful virtual team leaders. These successful virtual team leaders used their leadership abilities to work without boundaries. By not having boundaries, the virtual team leaders were able to successfully lead their teams through challenging environments with less restrictions of space and time. Even though virtual team leaders have struggled in some settings, virtual teams are increasing in popularity. The study themes are the result of the analysis of data collected regarding success strategies. The success strategies most noted by participants were communication and listening; goals, norms, and expectations; leadership and the utilization of mentors; collaboration; creating value for the organization; commitment to team cohesion; and communication technology. The study findings may be useful for scholars and practitioners interested in the motivation and success strategies of virtual team leaders and for those seeking to expand on the research.
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