Trust is such a critical driver in high-performing firms. But how do we build it, either in person or through a computer screen? Here are three Do's and two Don’ts to guide you on your quest
1. Make a good first impression
According to an HBR study, people trust others because they are genuine and real, which often traces back to first impressions. According to Robin Dreeke, a former FBI behaviouralist, the best approach to building trust during first encounters is to kick off conversation by establishing a time constraint, showing that you will respect the other person’s schedule and boundaries. Learn other tips on how you can make a good (virtual) first impression here.
2. The art of listening
There are countless distractions to prevent empathic listening – the being responsive to others during a conversation. For example, as soon as a person contributes their ideas in a virtual meeting, they often become disengaged. Trust starts to erode when people around us perceive that we care more about ourselves than others. Learn how to improve your empathic listening skills here.
3. Turn around office gossip
Office gossip prevails even in the virtual workspace. A 2019 analysis found that the average person gossips 52 minutes for every 16-hour waking period. We can refuse to entertain toxic conversations and instead build trust through accountability and transparency. Here are three ways to help you navigate office politics even when there is no office.
1. Act illogically
Avoid sudden changes in your actions without clear communication. Quick and baseless deviations catch people off-guard, leading to more distrust in remote teams. Follow Barbara Minto’s pyramid principle for sound and concise communication to guide a logical thought process.
2. Fail to walk the talk
Leading by example means applying your behaviour to meet expectations. If you consistently do not live up to expectations others will quickly lose faith and trust in you. Avoid saying one thing and doing another, thinking your team will not notice. Trust is a fragile thing, especially in virtual teams, and it can often be a deciding factor between the success or failure of a business.