Throughout history, one of the greatest challenges business leaders have faced is building trust among their team. Today’s leaders are even more at a disadvantage. Thanks to technology, many of their team members may now work remotely, limiting the amount of time they spend at the office in person. Traditional team-building activities are no longer effective. Strong leaders need to think outside of the box to foster trust and cooperation.
Don’t Leave People Out
One of the most important ways you can build trust with remote workers is to ensure they are always included. Sometimes it may feel easy to forget about someone if you aren’t seeing them every day, but you should prioritize making sure remote members don’t feel left out. Make sure you invite them to company meetings, and have them join through video streaming.
Adjust Your Leadership Style
Your style of leadership that has worked for you in the past may not work with remote teams. Instead of using long, infrequent touch points, you should implement shorter touch points that occur more often. Touch base with your remote team often, and on a consistent basis. These check-ins don’t need to be long, but they will help make up for the fact that you aren’t seeing and conversing with the individual every day.
Ask Questions Outright
Because you don’t have the advantage of seeing a person’s facial expressions and body language when they work remote, you need to ask very specific questions. Be explicit when asking how people feel during your meeting. You need to demonstrate that you understand that there are barriers to communication when someone works remote. Your team members should also realize that you are taking action to overcome these obstacles.
Remember that building trust takes time. Fostering collaboration and understanding takes even longer when you’re working with a team that you rarely see in person. Although it may be easy to become frustrated with your employees at first, you may need to extend grace to them during that time. Ask that they do the same for you. Exercising patience and humility goes a long way with any team, but it will help increase trust between you and your remote team even more.
Building trust with a remote team may be a challenge, but rest assured that it is far from an impossible task!