Working in a remote team isn’t the same as working from the office. That’s when you have to deal with space, manage time, set organizational boundaries, and interact primarily through electronic communications. Moreover, virtual teams management also includes building networks, leveraging technology, and overcoming cultural barriers. Thee obviously requires much determination and collaboration.
While more and more employees are switching to the remote full-time option, there are many challenges left unresolved (i.e. enhancing the employment prospects on distance, coping with low commitment levels from colleagues and their mistrust among each other). So, as a good manager setting up space for communication and tackling trust issues in the remote team should become the number one priority. Wonder how to make it right? We will help you out, but first, let’s take a look at the importance of building trust in virtual teams:
Why trust is important?
The definition of trust implies that you can rely on something, usually on somebody, to do the thing you care about a lot and, irrevocably put yourself at risk or expose to vulnerabilities. You look at the facts, believe in integrity but never know if you make the right choice.
Let’s take online services into consideration. You can never be 100% safe about someone’s expertise, knowledge, skills, experience unless you have a trustworthy website that has a good reputation telling you all of this. For example, writing service reviews such as Best Writers Online helps you with the choice of a writer for your next dissertation, thesis, or essay, so you never have to worry about picking poor paper writing service reviews. Other examples are Amazon or eBay that proved to be very reliable websites with a dozen secure services. Distrust brings more stagnancy and breeds less innovation and a lack of productivity.
Now, if we come back to the trust concerns in a remote team, we will see that it is of the same importance as any other example mentioned above. People tend to be cautious about others' strength and honesty. Remote work requires much patience and perseverance from managers to lead the team successfully, build trust among colleagues and the management team, and come up with the strategies for overcoming problems, the most common of which are:
- Non-compliance with picky rules, standards, and punishments embedded in team culture
- Poor supervision of individuals and the whole team as an entity
- Big focus on personal mistakes and slow decision-making processes
- Failure to notify workers about the organization’s plans, priorities, challenges, and opportunities
How can you tackle them? It is as easy as pie. You will just need to spend several minutes a day to make sure all of the below-mentioned tips are in the constant run and uphold your commitments as an organization’s manager.
7 ways to build trust in the remote team
1. Establish open communication
Create the virtual space of communication among people, where they can share information, and eventually better cooperate with one another. If you go anonymous, it will just make the whole situation worse. The group of individuals show more positive results and reach their full potential when there is open strategic discussion. When you work in the office it is much easier to arrange a meeting or organize team-building exercises. However, there are plenty of unusual ways to do it online, so don’t miss out. Carefully plan a call meeting, prepare ice-breakers, and fun activities that can bring every person together and open them up towards communication. You need to get everyone talking and storytelling, so set up a warm atmosphere and develop communication.
2. Avoid inadequate technology and poor training
The success of virtual teams often depends on the technologies and services they use. In order to implement projects successfully your remote team will need to be trained on how to use specific tools. Start investing in the right technology that will help everyone do their job happily. When you do not provide them with any adequate tools, it will be hard to monitor them and measure their performance. This can shatter your trustworthy relationship, and, we bet, you don’t want this to happen.
3. Monitor internal team members' mood
Not to let your business plans get derailed by organizational mistakes you have to make sure there is a clear trust model set in motion. Supercharge your team’s performance by procedures or steps that your teammates will follow with pleasure and excitement. Firstly, you can begin to develop quizzes and questionnaires that build self-awareness and understanding of individual and team strengths/ weaknesses. Secondly, try to run brainstorming sessions that help to present everyone’s thinking and potential, as well as bring more unique ideas aloud, which they would never have mentioned before. Once trust-building habits are established, you immediately get rid of secrecy, exclusion, or unpredictability that makes everyone dysfunctional at their work.
4. Take the wheel and lead by your example
Let’s say that somehow your team couldn’t build a strong relationship based on trust. Wouldn’t that problem become a nightmare for everyone? So, it is in your own interest to make sure your team members have a good example to look up to.
If any undesirable outcome or instability appears, make sure your team can see a real leader successfully dealing with it. Don’t be afraid to take full responsibility. Eventually, your team will trust you.
It is hard to function as a team if the members couldn’t build a healthy work relationship.
5. Create a team charter
Another essential thing is making a team charter where each person’s role and the purpose of the team are defined. Let’s imagine your team workers have been known each other offline before turning to the remote job mode. It is way more simple to continue managing teams and sorting out trust issues online then. But what if they initially began to cooperate with no prior meeting in real life? In this case, presenting the charter with everyone’s obligations, rights, expectations is a must. Pitch a presentation of the charter and let people arise questions, and discuss their thoughts about it. The reason why it is effective is because of a formal working statute that encourages trust and openness in any work.
6. Let them make decisions
Decision-making is one of the most important elements of work. Traditionally, it is a part of the managers' jobs.
Leaving the last word to the entire team seems to be quite risky. But, if you look from a big perspective, you will see that it is a big opportunity to know your team members more.
The reason why it works is simple: you can get more insights into your team’s perception and create a virtuous cycle of trust.
Moreover, this strategy should be implemented in such a way that team members should feel comfortable to naturally share their opinion.
7. Stop criticizing and blaming
Remember that any failure is the road to success, any mistake is the chance for improvement. At the same time, any achievement is the potential for promotion, any triumph is the job reward. No matter what your team workers do, whether it is not enough or too bad, make sure you don’t blame this for it. Firstly, discuss the problem, then identify the reasons for the poor-quality performance and, lastly, come to a reciprocal conclusion. Please step away from the philosophy of blaming and shaming remote employees for mistakes. Because once you do, it is very difficult to restore a connection bond online. Just a few negative comments and the whole enthusiasm for work is lost.
To conclude, there is no higher priority for any manager than to build trust within his or her team. However, the visibility of these leadership-oriented efforts with an emphasis on trust takes longer to manifest. You really need to choose appropriate techniques focusing on your company’s needs and take serious measures. Start with powerful communication, let your employees address their interests, connect to your team through individually made decisions, and, finally, create a supportive environment. In any case, it always comes down to interactions. When there is a desire to build trust in the remote team, no matter what steps you take it has a primary connection with a direct conversation between a leader and a worker.