044:How to Build and Maintain Your Team’s Trust in a Virtual Environment

The COVID pandemic drastically changed the way we think about business and community-building.

Virtual environments have practically become the new workspace for a significant part of the worldwide workforce. As a leader, building and maintaining your team’s trust in such strange times can be challenging to get right.

Perhaps your team doesn’t get along too well virtually, or the strategies you have adopted to build this trust haven’t worked at all. What can you do then?

Fortunately, there are indeed some tools and actions that can help you boost your team’s sense of unity and camaraderie during those long Zoom calls.

In today’s episode of the Leadership Jam Session Podcast, we’ll welcome a panel of leaders who are participants in a new program I recently launched called the Coach’s Jam Session to discuss how to build and maintain trust with your team in a virtual environment.

Why one-on-one discussions are so important

When managing a team online, especially if it’s a new environment or new people, having this kind of conversations is crucial. 

And the critical part is that these discussions should not be too focused around the business side of things. 

Ensure that you’re having one-on-one conversations with your people to understand their career goals and unique styles. Not only will you be able to support them in a virtual environment better, but this will also help you create a natural connection with them.

Approaching one-on-one conversations this way denotes a warm and transparent leadership style that will always promote a positive environment. It’s a great way to make the virtual workspace a much more comfortable place to work in.

Use technology to keep your team connected

Binding a team together is challenging. But binding a group together online can be way more complicated, primarily when not everyone is used to working this way.

Also, it’s safe to say that we can all agree that human connection relies on more than just calls and messages.

But fortunately, there is technology out there that goes beyond the basics and allows you to connect your team in ways that you probably would’ve never used.

For example, a messaging app called Marco Polo supports video messages you can send to your team. It’s a great way to foster team-unity; your team can get to know each other’s families, their hobbies, pets, and their lives in general.

This kind of technology it’s a fantastic opportunity to let your people know that you’re there for them and that it’s not just about business- you care for them at a personal level too.

3 Team-building techniques you should know 

1.- Build advocates

Especially when bringing new members on board, advocates can provide valuable feedback to you on whether you are missing the mark on something or perhaps to help get your team on board with a new idea or initiative. The key here is making sure you pick and leverage the right advocates on your team early on. 

2.-Understand different communication styles

Team-building relies on sympathetic collaboration between people who can have very different personality types. But this can get tricky when you’re working with new people in a virtual environment.

But in reality, having a variety of personalities within your team is an advantage.

When leading a team, especially in a virtual workplace, it’s easy to get caught up in your thinking style so there may be many options that you may be overlooking in a given situation.

But there may be someone in your group who sees some of these options due to their different personality and communication styles. And giving them that opportunity to express their views and suggestions will let you gain their trust.

3.-What you do behind the scenes it’s important

As a leader, your role is to promote and build team unity. But sometimes, it can be better for you to lay low and stay behind the scenes. For example, having your team meet periodically without you can also make a big difference to help that team build the connectivity you’re looking for.

Giving your team that ownership and space will work wonders for building and maintaining trust in a virtual environment.

Key Takeaways 

– Episode intro (00:00)

– Why it comes down to communication (01:18)

– The importance of one-on-one conversations (02:06)

– How technology can bind teams together (03:00)

– Why you can’t force trust (05:23)

– Understanding different communication styles (08:17)

– How to build a cohesive team online (12:30)

– Why sometimes you need to step back (17:00)

– Episode summary (20:55)

Leadership Resources

How are the leaders at all levels of management tackling the toughest challenges each day? Learn more at: https://sartoleadershipgroup.com

About the author, Rob

Rob Fonte is the founder and President of Sarto Leadership Group, whose reputation has been built on being a transformational leader and inspirational coach with a passion for developing others. His twenty-year career spans across multiple disciplines including leading award-winning sales teams. Rob is an academically trained Executive Coach certified by The University of Texas and the International Coach Federation.