How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team

How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team

Virtual teams are here to stay since the onset of the coronavirus pandemic. Organizations report that virtual teams are more productive and less costly. However, for any team to perform better, trust must be built. Working virtually has its challenges to building trust. There are no social interactions or assessing each other’s behavior. So, how do you build trust in a virtual team? In this post, I will share some ways.

Know Your Team Members

Knowing your team members well is the first step to building trust. You can know your team members by spending the first few minutes of work on a one-on-one meeting. In this meeting, you can ask each other about your personal life. For instance, you can ask about each other’s family members, wellbeing, hobbies, and more.

You can also set aside a few minutes after work to meet team members whom you don’t know well. You can set up a virtual meeting that team members will be talking about common interests and sharing knowledge. These meetings create a personal and informal setting to help members connect. This way, they end up knowing each other well hence building trust.

Set and Share Common Goals

Common goals are a common set of values that your team draws from. In other words, it is a common destination that your team drives forward to. Sharing common goals is essential in building trust. This is because team members can feel geographically disconnected when working from home. Working from home blends family, professional and personal lives under one roof.

Setting common goals gives them a common destination creating a connection. The goals that you set should be clear, timely, attainable, and understood by the team. Goals can be immediate, short-term, or long-term. Sharing short-term goals mostly strengthen trust. This is because they provide shared values and opportunities for each member to contribute.

Transparent Communication

Virtual setting uncovers body language signs. You are also forced to switch from one virtual meeting to another, while you can have a child that needs your attention or a barking dog. Being transparent helps build trust when we communicate virtually. Being transparent means saying what you mean, meaning what you say and doing what you promise to do.

Lack of body language signs in a virtual setting can be a transparency challenge. Each team member should pay attention to whether what they say aligns with their actions, and whether they deliver what they promised. In case of challenges and you cannot deliver in time, you should let your team know and help you where they can.

Sticking to a Schedule and Being Consistent

Being consistent means showing up, sticking to a schedule, and being prepared. In a virtual setting, to show up is to define when you will be online and when you will be offline. You also need to be online on time. To stick to a schedule means to post your work schedule on your profile so your team members can view it. In case you change your schedule, you must inform your team members.

To be consistent and stick to a schedule, you must be prepared. To prepare means to take your time pre-reading or researching, and completing tasks before meeting with your team members. Sticking to a schedule and being consistent helps you build trust with your team members. This is because you show them that your words and your actions are dependable and trustworthy. 

Focusing on Results

In as much as you should communicate your online schedule to your team members, you should focus more on delivering results. When working from home, sometimes it’s challenging to have a work-life balance. With family members at home, your team members may be spending time tending to their family members.

This may take away the continuous 9-5 work schedule. This might make your team members work early in the morning or later at night when it’s quieter. Instead of focusing on the time spent on computers, you’d rather focus on outcomes. You and your team members should deliver what you promised when you promised. This way, as team members, you get to trust each other.

Offer Constructive Feedback

As the leader of a team, you should make it a habit of providing feedback regularly to your team members. You should not wait until there is a problem to talk to your team members. Ensure you regularly compliment your workers’ strengths, achievements, and performance. Also, give remarks on areas that they need to improve. By helping them grow, you build trust with them.

Personal Relationships

By building personal relationships between workers, you help them trust each other. Let your workers take time to socialize virtually. The virtual setting should have a channel that replaces social interactions at the office. You encourage personal relationships by encouraging team members to share personal updates.

For example, sharing how they spent weekends. Create innovative ways that workers can build rapport with each other. Investing in their time and energy leads to lasting relationships. Non-work communications enable the building of relationships that are based on common interests. Quality relationships between team members build trust and your company objectives are reached.

Embrace Mistakes

Mistakes are bound to happen no matter how well you prepare. This is because as human beings we are prone to errors. When you own a mistake, you remove the anxiety that things will go wrong. This makes the attitude of team members clear and if a problem is to arise, the important thing is to solve it and move on.

Acknowledging human error as part of operations gives your team members the freedom to try new things and take logical risks. Moreover, it builds trust in the team as employees know they won’t be judged for making mistakes. When mistakes happen, your team members should avoid jumping to conclusions. But rather, they should step in and give guidance and support where needed. Supportive team members trust each other.

Recognize Team Achievements

Recognizing the achievements of team members helps them feel valued. When a worker feels like they don’t matter to a team, it’s hard for him or her to develop trust. Give effective praise to your workers for exemplary performances. For praise to be effective, ensure you give it at the moment of accomplishment. Don’t wait for quarterly meetings to give recognize achievements.

Another thing, be specific about the praise you give someone. When you are specific on the achievement of a team member, you show them why it matters and this makes a big impact. Give achievements the attention they deserve. Create a culture of gratitude where your workers point out big wins and celebrate each other. As a leader, you can even go further to give bonuses and gifts. Recognizing achievements is vital when building trust in your team.

Support Team Members Wellbeing

Team members should take an interest and support each other’s health and wellness. A physically and mentally healthy team performs better and is a happier team. Issues with mental health affect performance, engagement, and communication between team members. Happy employees are less stressed and trust each other. When you create a wellness plan for your team, you improve their morale and job satisfaction. You create an environment where trust can develop.

Remote working is the new and future way of working. To build trust in remote teams, you have to change your strategy of management and communication. Use the tips above to help you understand how to build trust in your remote team. 

Build Trust in a Virtual Team

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