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#WFH: How Do You Establish Trust?

People who have run virtual projects, been in charge of virtual teams and own or manage organizations that have large virtual workforces understand that when you deal with people in the virtual space you need to be able to trust and listen to “your little voice.” Managing people in the 21st century means managing people virtually. Leadership and management is caught in a fast-paced and changing world. The tension and stress created by dynamic change often leaves managers struggling for meaning, purpose, and direction and leads to irrational and erratic thought. They need to develop a balance between the rational and the sensitive, the analytical and the intuitive ways of thinking. The more we move toward a knowledge-based and service-oriented society the more we rely on humans to assure success.

Leading in the virtual world requires the ability and commitment to building relationships that are trusted, positive and reliable in spite of barriers like the lack of visual and emotional cues. Often these relationships are with people who are cultural opposites, inherently different or basically antagonistic. Doing what is right and what is fair is a matter of perception, and perception is a unique quality subjectively developed on an individual basis. Leading in the virtual workplace requires more self-knowledge, self-regulation and emotional balance than in the F2F environment. It requires leadership to take an interest in and make a strong effort to support worker success.

Establishing trust, one of the key elements necessary for success in the virtual workplace, comes from collaboration, shared expectations, missions, vision and engagement. This can range from mutually agreed upon project goals and timetables to expectations about performance, hours, and delivery schedules. Virtual leadership and virtual workplace performance requires a high level of collaborative skills, a demonstration of trust-building, higher levels of communication, and extensive support and dialogue to support engagement and success.

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