Trust is the glue that sticks the team together in any business. Trust is built through transparent and authentic leadership. For example, if things don’t go to plan, authentic managers are the ones who raise their hand and admit they got something wrong.
They can build further trust by communicating how they intend to fix the situation and by asking others to lend a hand on implementing an appropriate solution. Trust starts with communication. If everyone is informed and feedback is welcomed, you will build trust among your team. Everyone in your team wants to feel included and that their opinion counts. Good communication is key in managing any team and where some or all of your team members are working remotely, it’s even more important.
Employee trust levels are closely correlated to proximity. Proximity bias is where employees with close proximity to their team and managers will be perceived as better workers. They are front of mind because they are in everyone’s line of sight and tend to find more success in the workplace than their less visible colleagues.
Now that many people are working remotely, at least some of the time, managers need to try harder to avoid proximity bias. Remote team members can experience feelings of isolation and this can push good employees to go elsewhere in search of new jobs where they feel they will be more included.
Focus on diversity and inclusion
You can build trust by creating an engaging virtual work culture with a focus on proactive diversity and inclusion, and that doesn’t suffer from proximity bias. For example, project teams should include remote workers as well as those in the office, feedback should be sought from a variety of team members across the business, not just the ones who happen to be sitting nearby on any given day, etc.
To build trust among your team, everyone must invest in trust-based values. As a leader, you can make it clear that you’re all in it together and you expect everyone to be an open, authentic team-player.
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