As with any relationship (offline or online, personal or business) building trust takes time and effort. In the case of a Virtual Team where members may feel isolated and disconnected it’s important you set the foundation – a strong, solid foundation to build trust within your virtual team. This needs to be done right at the outset. Right at the point your team is established or comes together. Remember …
Just because you bring a bunch of people together in an online space, doesn’t mean they are automatically going to operate as a united virtual team. It doesn’t mean they will automatically trust you and each other.
You want your team to trust you as their virtual team leader. You also want your individual virtual team members to trust you and each other. This can pose a challenge for virtual teams who have people working remotely from different parts of the world.
So what can you do, to gain the trust of your virtual team? What can you do to encourage individual team members to trust each other? This list is in no way exhaustive, but it does highlight 15 of the most important things you can do to establish trust in a virtual team, where people rarely (if ever) connect face-to-face >>>
- Set The Lead In The Matter of Trust by trusting yourself and being ready and willing to trust your team. Work on your own attitude first and let an attitude of trust filter out from you.
- Be willing to share information (even personal information) about yourself with the team. Share stories and inspiring experiences with your virtual team.
- Be completely honest with your team about the unique challenges they will likely face as a virtual team. Don’t pretend that you will be able to operate the same as any standard face-to-face working team. Explain to your virtual team what you are willing to do to build trust within the team and what you will do to help the team overcome the challenges particularly associated within virtual working.
- Invite the virtual team members to suggest ways they can contribute to a better functioning united team. Discuss how the suggestions can be applied and provide the resources for the suggestions to be implemented and maintained.
- Share your vision for the team, and communicate to each individual team member how they fit into that vision. Help team members to feel part of a greater purpose and help them see specifically, how they are contributing to the purpose of the entire team.
- Set clear roles and responsibilities within the team to achieve the vision. Then follow through by respecting the boundaries of those roles you have assigned.
- Be quick to give commendation and praise – both privately and publicly.
- Take The Time To Get To Know Your Individual Virtual Team Members and How They Work Best
- Arrange a personality profiling session when your team is first established. Have fun with it and help team members to learn about each other and how best to communicate with each other.
- Apply the knowledge gained from the personality profiling on a regular basis. Open up discussion within the team as to how personalities and work styles are impacting on the team dynamics.
- Allow time (at least once a week) for open communication within the team. This could be a time set aside for 10 minutes before a team meeting.
- When communicating with your virtual team, look for ways to motive your team by asking your team questions that will reveal their true motivation. ie Viewpoint questions – What do you think? What’s your opinion? Why questions. How do you feel about that questions.
- Be a good listener to show each team member has a valued contribution to make. Listening carefully for “hidden” communications is very important, especially when you don’t have body language and facial expressions to respond to.
- Establish channels for People To Connect With Each Other Virtually. Ie Social Media, , Internal Social Media Platforms, Collaboration Software
- Invest in REAL virtual team building games and activities.
Get More Virtual Team Tips here:
How to capture and retain valuable information in a virtual office environment
Virtual Team Intelligence – Top 10 Team Building Quotes