Real Trust in Your Virtual Team

Are you having trouble trusting your virtual team to get the job done? Here are three tips to build trust and improve your team’s performance.

To lead a high performing team, significant levels of trust among team members is required. The team needs to believe that they are collectively willing and able to complete the job. And, team members need to understand and share each other’s values and goals.

There is a head and a heart dimension of trust. The head is concerned with reliability and competence: “My team can and will get the job done.” While the heart is interested in interpersonal care and concern: “My team is committed to each other and extends help without even asking for it.”

You gain head trust by doing the job right and on time. You gain heart trust through warmth and kindness.

Trust is not easy to develop. This is especially true of dispersed teams connecting virtually. Emails, conference calls and video chats just don’t pack the same punch as a handshake, a shared cup of coffee, or an impromptu chat.

So what is a leader of a dispersed team to do? At the outset, forget about the heart and focus on the head. Do everything you can to establish a shared sense of reliability and competence. This will ensure your dispersed team meets its objectives while setting the groundwork for the development of heart trust.

Three Tips to Develop Trust in Your Virtual Team

1. Brag on each team member! Point out why each individual is on the team and the strengths they bring. Boost initial beliefs of competence.

2. Establish a culture of proactive communication! Rapid, consistent and enthusiastic communication can help overcome “behavioral invisibility”. Establish communication norms in a team charter and stick to them.

3. Go for a quick win! Create an assignment right off the bat that the team can successfully complete. Grow the team’s confidence in each other.

Employ these strategies and your dispersed team will be high on trust and performance!