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#WFH: Relationships Are Key For Success

A good first step is to recognize that this work-place requires continuous training and support to be able to achieve collaboration, communication and sharing. It is important to clearly define roles and responsibilities. We want to define how informal and formal communication will take place. Constantly updating our leadership skills including technology training, coaching skills, relationship and communication skills and emotional intelligence are especial-ly important in the virtual workplace. The need to have virtual leaders who are trained and supported is evident. It increases effectiveness and efficiency.

This is an environment where trust is everything. Mistrust, misinterpretation, and uneven knowledge distribution make it difficult to collaborate, reach consensus and make critical decisions. It also makes it harder to carry out plans. By aligning connections and focusing on supporting independent thinkers, doers and contributors, it is possible to create an environment in which collaboration, communication and sharing exist.  Augmenting autonomy is challenging but it is also necessary. All workplace learning and development requires thought, investment and caring. It is not a once and done thing. Onboarding is only part of the learning and development process. Putting in the effort to train and develop workers helps with turnover, effectiveness and meeting key performance and ultimately business objectives.

Collaboration is a byproduct of individuals coming together to move in a quest for purpose, direction and meaning. It is built on sensible, trustworthy and positive relationships. It is squashed by erratic behaviors, emotional outbursts and egocentric behaviors. Before you can collaborate, you need to be able to think independently. If I am afraid of what you think and dependent on your input for all my decisions, I am not able to collaborate with you, I am dependent on you. To have teams that collaborate, we must support individuals in acting with autonomy. Humility and an awareness of others intuitively supports collaboration. Collaborative skills can be learned through proactive practice but not until an individual can function autonomously.

Often organizations will avoid this area entirely because they feel individuals are too difficult to deal with. They will strive to hire certain kinds of workers and/or only let certain people work virtually. Undoubtedly, certain personality and individual characteristics work better in the virtual environment but everybody needs support. When companies value human beings as being important to their success, they realize that the investment in human capital has big payoffs. Building relationships is key to encouraging collaboration. A culture that is innovative and aware values differences. Only then can leaders truly sup-port workers, making connections and establishing relationships that are collaborative. Finding common ground between all sorts of things including race, age, ethnicity, religion, different functional units, culture and geographic regions supports collaboration.


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