There’s a great deal of trust that goes into allowing your remote teams to work remotely, and under normal circumstances, you’d usually allow this for team members who have earned your trust over time, proving they can work just as effectively working remotely, away from you, or you’ve already structured your business this way and have team members in place, employed to work remotely.
Now however in this COVID 19 crisis we find ourselves in, time for earning trust is something that most businesses didn’t have. Many leaders and business owners have now gained a remote team overnight, and they’ve had no choice but to transfer trust to their team that they are doing what they should be doing at home, in isolation and often with a house full of kids and a partner or, lack of a partner.
From the feedback I’m receiving, many businesses and their employees are unsure as to how to effectively navigate this new world, as leading remote teams are a different animal to that of an in-office team. This requires deliberate behaviours and deliberate strategies to grow the effectiveness of individuals in isolation.
In this next blog, I’m going to give you some powerful strategies you can implement into your business or team right now to help you grow trust and to transfer trust to your remote people and teams, because as you know, in any relationship, either business or personal, trust is everything.
Grow the heart and spirit of your people.
A critical strategy for growing trust in any team or organisation is to grow the heart and spirit of the people you lead. If you look at the upside-down pyramid below of building a winning team culture (which is essential for a high performing business or team), you must grow the heart and spirit of your people to build trust, and then when you have trust, you get positive thoughts/mental toughness under pressure. And when you have mental toughness, this leads to positive energy and high performance (Physical).
Right now, more than ever, you as the leader, need to grow the heart and spirit of your people in isolation. You will have team members that will not communicate openly and honestly with you that they are struggling and feeling the pressure of the new world COVID19 has created. They are feeling alone and isolated in lockdown. There has never been a greater call to action for leaders and business owners to upskill on what is required to empower individuals and make a real difference in their life, that they are valued and that you trust them and can count on them.
The truth about leadership is that you have to stop focussing on the result and start focussing on what behaviours you need to focus on to achieve the result you want to achieve. Some simple, yet very effective actions you can do right now to build the heart and spirit of your people are as follows:
- Give them a personal call/Zoom call with a disciplined rhythm/schedule, just to see how they’re going, how they’re coping, how their family is doing etc. It’s really important you take the time to know how your people are feeling/how they are going/what are they dealing with at home as:
a. No one cares how much you know until they know how much you care. Caring builds trust. Trust leads to your influence as the leader. Influence leads to performance as they don’t want to let you down as the leader they respect and care about.b. You can help allay any fears they might be experiencing, simply by talking to them, and thus helping them become productive from home during this crisis.
- Send an individual, personalised video message or email to each of your key team members, letting them know why you believe in them and thanking them for all that they do. Something that’s simple and heartfelt, connecting with each team member will have a serious impact.
- Set up a team Zoom meeting and publicly edify (promote) your people in front of their peers, letting everyone know what a fantastic contribution each person is making and how it’s positively impacting the business. Edification – you can promote anyone but yourself- is a powerful tool to empower individuals and teams and with team members, working in isolation. It doesn’t matter who you are, the longer COVID19 goes, the more deliberate action from leaders and business owners will be required to empower individuals and teams.
What is the heart and spirit like of the key people you lead?
What do you need to do to build the heart and spirit of your people?
- One on One.
Once a person’s heart and spirit are in a better place, the most effective way to transfer trust to your people is one on one. You need to set up a Zoom meeting with each of your key people, going over the expectations you have of them (see Part 2 of this series for this) and why you can count on them to deliver. This creates an extra sense of urgency in team members not wanting to let you down as the leader and for their own personal self-worth to deliver on what they agreed to deliver (accountability) that you can count on them. There is nothing more powerful than face to face communication and in today’s world, we have the technology to allow us to do this globally.
Who do you need to spend with one on one time with to transfer trust?
Is there anyone you don’t trust working in isolation?
- Formalise your communication in writing.
Another key strategy for growing and transferring trust is to formalise your one on one discussion by putting it in writing – not only your expectations of them but also how much you trust them and why. This document then provides a clear direction for each team member and also allows you to measure their performance. When you can measure performance, this leads to accountability as “what gets inspected, gets respected (John Maxwell). Accountability leads to trust and as the cycle continues, greater trust is built over time as each person delivers what they agree to deliver, time and time again. And then you edify them on the great job they’re doing and show them you care about them, growing their heart and spirit further and now you are developing a winning combination for growing and building a trusting relationship focussed on high performance and delivery.
How are you keeping your remote people accountable?
- In Front of the Team.
A powerful strategy I’ve used to transfer trust is for the business owner or team leader to publicly transfer trust to individuals in front of the entire team, transferring trust for them to work remotely, affirming that you know that they can be counted on working remotely and why. This empowers people to want to deliver, as they feel significant and respected in front of the team, but you must have the right people in the right roles, and this has never been more important as people are now working remotely. It’s critical you do this via a team Zoom meeting as public transferral of trust is powerfully effective for building and transferring trust in teams.
Who do you need to publicly transfer trust to?
What is the right rhythm for your business model to ensure this becomes an effective strategy and behaviour?
- The Inner Circle.
If your business or the team you lead has a core group of leaders who you rely on, this requires a deliberate, formalised, weekly Zoom meeting with your inner circle. You use these meetings to grow alignment to the vision, to set clear expectations and transfer trust and leadership responsibility to key individuals, growing accountability and respect to the team and the chain of command, to drive the culture to achieve the vision.
Have you set up weekly Zoom meetings with your leadership team?
As always, I trust your thinking has been stimulated and agitated as to how you can lead your remote teams more effectively. If you’ve found some strategies above that you believe will assist you, why don’t you take a little time now to plan your next steps to implement them into your business or team.
I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.
Take care and keep climbing.
I’ve been leading remote teams around the world since 1994. In one of my businesses, I now have remote teams in 28 countries, with a sales force of 15,000, in 12 languages. I’m also the Founder of Leadership Dynamics Australia which provides leadership strategies for SME’s and professional sporting organisations in Australia since 2003
If you’d like to follow the Leadership Dynamics Facebook Page, my team and I are organising some online events to thrash out issues like leading your teams remotely, in more detail. Stay tuned. Click here for the link to my Leadership Dynamics Page.
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