Building Trust in Virtual Teams

3 Strategies for Building Trust
in Your Virtual Team

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.

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

There is a head and a heart dimension to trust. The head is concerned with reliability and competence: “My team can and will get the job done”. 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, especially when your team is dispersed and only connects 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 virtual team to do?

At the outset, the key is to focus on the head. Do everything you can to establish a shared sense of reliability and competence. This will ensure your virtual team meets its objectives while setting the groundwork for the development of heart trust.

Try these trust-building tips to realize the full potential of your virtual team:

  • Brag on each team member! Point out why each individual is on the team and the strengths they bring. Boost initial beliefs of competence.
  • 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.
  • 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 virtual team will be high on trust and performance!