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How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team


Author: Keith Ferrazzi | Source: HBR Article: How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team.

How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team


Trust is a critical success factor that allows networks to thrive and have impact. As experienced network leaders know, without trust not much is going to happen. This Harvard Business Review article by Keith Ferrazzi offers four tips for accelerating and sustaining the trust-building process within a virtual team [steering or work team]. While they may seem simple, these principles give leaders a set of tangible practices that can help them ensure a trust-strong network.

Key Points:

  1. Leverage Swift Trust: In swift trust theory, a group or team assumes trust initially, and later verifies and adjusts trust beliefs accordingly. This intentional assumption of trust allows the group to form and move forward quickly toward a specific goal. It can be lost quickly however if there is not an intentional focus on continued consistent, credible engagement.

  2. Build interpersonal connections: Take time to build relationships and get to know the personal side of your team members. Interpersonal connections help us find what we have in common. The stronger the connections, the more likely your team is to build empathy and trust with one another.

  3. Communicate with predictability: Communicate in a predictable and consistent way. In a study of global distributed teams, the researchers found that teams lacking in trust tended to have unpredictable communication patterns, often with just one or two members accounting for the bulk of the communications. This is a big reason why agendas, meeting notes, and clear decision-making processes are so vital.

  4. Share and rotate power: Research studies show that teams who rotate power based on the stage of the project, needed areas of expertise, etc. were more likely to have stronger levels of trust.

Resource Link

Enjoy this article at Harvard Business Review: Building Trust in a Virtual Team.

One Response to How to Build Trust in a Virtual Team

  1. Profile photo of Clyde Taber
    Clyde Taber March 16, 2017 at 5:41 pm #

    Great input! Thanks for posting this. Of course there are many more. I would add… Transparency. We tried to do everything with open hands. This means a lot of shared Google docs (including budgets and expenses).

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