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How To Build Trust In Your Virtual Team (Part 2)

Last week I ran through 3 ways virtual teams can build trust with one another:

  • Keeping the team as small as possible.

  • Making sure the first interactions are positive and encouraging. 

  • Practicing task and communication reliability. 

If building trust in your virtual team is important to you, then please feel free to download my free communication guide/cheat sheet at the end of this article. 

If building trust in your virtual team is important to you, then please feel free to download my free communication guide / cheat sheet at the end of this article. 

So what other ways can a virtual team build trust? 

Step 4: Keep the team together for the long-run

High turnover rates cause team members to have more difficulty knowing, understanding and trusting their colleagues. The goal for any team, whether it be virtual or co-located, is to try and keep the team together for the long-run. 

Think about it. Let’s say you spend 2-3 months on a project with a new colleague. You start getting to know and understand their skills, expertise,  and what makes them tick as an individual. But as soon as you start to feel comfortable collaborating with this individual, they leave and are replaced by someone completely new, and the process starts all over again. 

Simply put, you have to repeat the cycle of getting to know that new colleague from scratch, and this is both frustrating and counterproductive for you and the rest of the team. 

So how do you keep a team together? 

Here are some simple yet effective techniques you can implement:

  1. - Offer incentives with rewards that employees actually want.

  2. - Express empathy and understanding of challenges faced by employees.

  3. - Get to know your employees on a more individual basis, offering support and constructive feedback when necessary.

Step 5: Have teams train together and practice their tasks

Teams that train and practice tasks together learn who they can rely on and what they can rely on them for. This goes back to the point I made in my previous article about task and communication reliability. 

Having teams train and practice their tasks together gives them a greater understanding and insight into who possesses what skill and at what level.

Now you might say that we have a wealth of information and knowledge at our fingertips, in other words, the internet, but rather than digging for information on a search engine, people feel more comfortable seeking information from people they actually have a connection to. They know these individuals have had real-life experiences that they can relate to.

In short, the more interaction and collaboration teammates have with each other, the greater the levels of trust. 

Step 6: Interview each team member before the project begins.

This one can be daunting, but hear me out. Taking that extra time in getting to talk and listen to each team member goes a really long way. You become aware of what skills, knowledge, and expertise they can bring to the table, and you can share that information with the rest of the team. 

So how do we go about this?

Firstly, send an email to all team members informing that you’d like to have a chat with them prior to the project starting just so you can get to know them better. At the start of the phone call, tell them you want to find out more about their expectations of the project and what challenges they think they’ll face.

Next, identify 2 things that they are skilled at, and 1 thing they’re an expert at. Write all of this information down in a Google Doc for each person. 

Finally, distribute this information and data to the rest of the team members so they have a digital record of each person on the team with their 2 skills and that 1 thing they’re an expert at. 

The next time a team member needs help with X,Y, or B, they can simply refer to the document and know who they can turn to for help and advice about that particular subject.

This task connects the team and brings them closer together. It promotes collaboration and reliability within the team and provides significant background information about each team member. 

In summary

Building trust in virtual teams is all about keeping the team as small as possible and together for the long-run. It’s about reliability and simple interaction from the very beginning. It’s about taking the time in getting to know and understand your team’s strengths, weaknesses, and expectations. 

Before you go….

Please download a copy of my FREE communication guide/cheat sheet where I give you 10 effective communication strategies on how you can connect with your virtual team and close the communication gap. You can download it for free here: https://ascommunications.wixsite.com/guide