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#WFH: Do You Trust People?

Leading in a virtual workplace is about respecting, inspiring and trusting people. Good leaders always seem to know that the secret to their success is to hire the right people, get them in the right positions and then get out of the way and let them do their jobs. If you give them the support they need, a clear vision and objectives, and have those crucial conversations, good people will come through most of the time. Good leaders know how to stay close and be there for their people and yet not be intrusive or domineering.

Hands-off and laissez-faire management is not going to work in the virtual environment. Those approaches make it far too easy to get lost. Without respect, people do not feel appreciated. People who are not appreciated usually have low motivation. Without inspiration, how can there be any creativity and innovation? Without trust, there will never be dedication. Leading in the virtual environment requires leaders with compassion, imagination and commitment. Every virtual worker has to be their own leader in their own environment.

Many people would argue that the technologies of this new century have ushered in an age where respect has been forgotten. Media floods us all day long with images of the worst things about humanity. It trivializes and sensationalizes. It presents pictures of a world possessed by violence, scripted reality and disrespect. Respect used to be about respecting authority for the sake of authority. But in the “flat world” of the 21st century, where social networks rule our views of collective consciousness, respect has taken on a different meaning. Perhaps it has not been forgotten but just repositioned. A person with strong leadership skills must be empowered, and empower others, to accomplish great things. Leaders want to see the best in others and in themselves. Respect begins with honesty. Respect for oneself and for others creates awareness and acceptance.

The old way of thinking was: you can’t trust employees. When the cat is away, the mouse will play, went the old thinking. But what was missing here was visible accountability. In order to trust people, you need to make expectations clear, then support people and hold them accountable. You can’t get to innovation without inspiration. To lead, you need to be inspired to get the job done and dedicated to the priorities you set down for yourself. You want to be committed to making yourself better and helping those you work with become better.

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