“The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”
– Ernest Hemingway
Trust is a big factor when you are working with virtual teams. So, let’s look at what specifically a virtual manager needs to do to build and maintain trust with their team.
Trust is not something that happens immediately, and it may take time for you to create an environment where you trust your team and they trust you. However, you should see this process as laying the groundwork to work on trust over a period of time. Of course, once your team get to know you and each other better there will be more opportunities for you to work on trust, but if you don’t attempt to lay the foundations early on, it can be very difficult to build later.
Some traits of a virtual manager that focuses on trust are…
- Demonstrates openness and honesty at every stage and encourages the same from the team
- Trusts others first – demonstrates trust, which garners mutual respect. Sets an example
- Communicates frequently and consistently and ensures everyone receives the same message and context
- Does what they say they will and follows up on actions and promises
- Is accessible and responsive to team requests
- Provides a consistent approach and becomes predictable in their actions
- Celebrates success and provides appropriate recognition
- Shows an interest in the social, family and home aspect of the team
As the leader of a team that works remotely, developing trust is your responsibility. That doesn’t only mean the trust between you and each team member; it also means the trust between the team itself. The key to this is being open and consistent and encouraging others to act in the same way. Your team will look to model the actions of their leader and you need to walk the talk and be that role model. This means demonstrating the behaviours you expect of your team.
Don’t be too downhearted if trust doesn’t seem to be immediately developing within your team. Trust can take time to build for teams who work in the same office, so for teams that work in the virtual environment, it can take much longer. Just continue to provide opportunities for your team to interact and over time you will see that the trust develops.
Trainer Bubble provide a wide variety of training course materials and e-learning courses that focus on virtual teams. We also provide virtual training materials that you can use to run training for remote workers via video conference facilities.