One of the most crucial aspects of a company’s culture is trust. This is especially true in hybrid and remote organizations, where face-to-face interactions are limited and mediated by technology. Team members must trust one another to perform at their best.
With hybrid and remote work arrangements here to stay, teams everywhere face several pitfalls – they are experiencing silos, sporadic information sharing, unresolved conflicts, poor communication, and more. Casual conversations are becoming less common, and context is sometimes lost when communicating via email and other digital media. Within a virtual team, decision-making can be less transparent. These can lower morale and inhibit decision-making, slowing down operations and impacting team performance.
Trust is the answer to these challenges. So, how can leaders ensure that trust is there throughout the company? And as businesses work to recover from the disruption caused by the pandemic, how can leaders reclaim trust that may have been lost along the way?
Create Opportunities for People to Build Relationships
Leaders should create opportunities for team members to meet face to face. This helps members develop relationships and better understand the scope of their work, timelines, team composition, decision-making structure, and communication processes. New virtual teams should meet in person at least once within the first several months.
Cross-Functional Interlock Teams
The first step in overcoming siloed work and team differences is to raise awareness. Trust can be eroded when assumptions and misperceptions form quickly. Creating cross-functional interlock teams that meet regularly to share information, boost communication, pose challenges to solve together, and build empathy for one another is one activity that can help turn this situation around.
Empathy in the Workplace
The speed of change, the need for services, and the global operating environment drive enterprises into silos to respond faster to targeted objectives. To break free from a restricted focus, leaders must seek to develop organizational empathy by approaching their problems from a fresh perspective. To improve understanding and connection across the workplace, leaders must change their starting point.
The blame game is a serious sign of a lack of trust. Leaders can emphasize the significance of being open and honest by encouraging team members to share their issues and triumphs regularly, whether in meetings or by posting them in an internal forum and allowing debate. Leading by example encourages others to follow suit. When feasible, leaders should make project timeframes, processes, and agreements completely transparent.
Organizations with a culture that encourages listening and welcomes employee feedback tend to be the most trusting settings. This begins with creating strong relationships between employees and their managers, wherein an employee can freely give feedback without fear of retaliation.
Regular check-ins can be an excellent way to maintain regular communication and feedback. Leaders can also establish an environment that encourages employees to be honest and take necessary action.
Micromanagement and command-and-control leadership have outlived their usefulness. Managers in the digital workplace must enable employees. To accomplish this, all parties must trust one another for everyone to perform at their best. Leaders can establish the discourse needed to build or rebuild productive relationships with employees by being open, encouraging feedback, and leading with empathy.