With Covid-19 the world went suddenly upside down.
Most businesses had either to close or send their employees to work from home.
In a brief fraction of time, working from home exploded and massive contingency plans had to be established in an emergency to allow the running of businesses.
As a team leader, this sudden change brings instability on how to continue working with your team and how to maintain your trust and their trust.
In this post, we start with the idea you already developed trust in your distributed team and we explain how to maintain this trust.
If you feel you still need to develop trust inside your distributed team, you can refer to this previous article or you can directly contact me.
Address issues directly
When issues appear, show a willingness to address them directly either on the team chat or by organizing a team sync-up.
Try to always put your camera on so your team members can see your facial expressions.
On the team chat, don’t hesitate to use emojis to clear up your intentions as written communication can be tricky and perceived in different ways depending on the individual’s mood.
As a team leader, do not have conversations about others especially when they are not present in front of your other team members or in a forum where they are absent.
Focus on the issues themselves and deal with add-ons respectfully.
Keep your commitments
This is where integrity comes in. Keep the commitments you make to your team members, even more than usual, in this period of uncertainty.
If you promise to review something in X days then keep your word. If you see you will not be able to keep your commitment then warn as the earliest possible the team member affected.
It is ok to not keep your commitments only if you communicate the why and an alternative solution.
Lead by example
Leading by example is even more imprescindible when going online. Be on time for meetings, put on your camera, have your surroundings professional, make sure your connection is stable, you are in a quiet environment or you use a noise canceling app and you are not in your pajama.
As a team leader, you set up the example for your team and influence them to reproduce the behaviour you have. When you explain your expectations to the team members toward the team then have the same expectations for yourself.
When your team sees your expectations of them are the same for yourself, you elevate the field game of trust for it to flow.
Be transparent by sharing information early, evenly, and freely.
In an online world, communication is even more important than in face-to-face as we cannot see each other as regularly or bump into each other at the coffee machine.
Even when you do not know something, share what you do not know.
This last point demonstrates to the team, as a leader, you are willing to be vulnerable. We will thoroughly talk in another post about the importance of a leader showing vulnerability.
Your behaviour as a team leader set the tone for the type of environment that is essential for teams to successfully thrive.
Trust requires ongoing efforts to long last in time and requires even more attention when the environment around us changed so suddenly.
As a team leader, the trust you acquire from your team is hard to earn and incredibly easy to lose.
Your team will start walking the path of high performance with trust as its core.