9 Ways to Lead with Trust when Officing Apart

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When working remotely, leaders need to be able to trust team members to perform their roles from a distance.

Research cited by Daniel Pink shows that professionals are motivated by autonomy, mastery, and purpose. When your team has a deep knowing that they are trusted to do good work and are encouraged to get better at doing work that has a meaningful purpose, they are more likely to have the self-motivation, confidence, and drive they need to perform the work.

Having a leader who trusts a team member is key to success, but so is having a team member who trusts their leader. Team members must be able to count on their leader, and have a leader who believes in them, and supports them wholeheartedly.

Here are nine ways to lead your remote team with trust:

  1. Be the first to trust. Lead by setting clear goals and expectations, trust remote workers to be professional and do the work. Avoid micro-managing and instead hold team members accountable for meeting milestones, goals, and results
  2. Enable good work. Provide the support, feedback, and encouragement your remote workers need to accomplish their tasks and goals. Set specific dates and times for 1:1 or team check-ins to help you understand what they need to succeed. Have an open-door policy so they can get the help from you when they need it.
  3. Communicate frequently and with multiple methods. Out of sight, out of mind, can unintentionally create disconnection – both from the messages you need to share and also from how people perceive your communication. Use a blend of phone calls, video calls, and written communication. Be aware of the tone you use as it will have a higher chance of being misconstrued than in-person communications.
  4. Create opportunities for face-to-face communication. As much as possible, create opportunities for 1:1 and team in-person meetings and connections. When it comes to sharing sensitive or constructive information, do your best to meet in person. If that’s not possible, choose “cameras-on” communication.
  5. Appreciate team members work styles. Understand that people have different behavioral preferences and tendencies, and each style might be experiencing their work from home situation differently. Assessment tools such as Everything DiSC® can help you understand style differences and adapt your communication to meet their needs.
  6. Remember a key rule of thumb in leadership. Focus on the problem, not the person. Don’t take it personally or make it personal when things go wrong. Manage your emotions and aim to understand the facts, then work together towards a solution.
  7. Balance the workload. Ensure team members have a clear understanding of the vision the team is working towards and how each of their roles play a part in getting to the finish line. Encourage team members to pitch in and help one another out when needed.
  8. Provide equal opportunity. Too often the stronger voices get heard the most and receive the most attention. Ensure everyone has equal access to participate and share their voice in meetings and take on new assignments.
  9. Commit to DWYSYWD. Show the people you work with that they can count on you by [Doing What You Say You Will Do]. Your trustworthiness is key to trust and requires you to be intentional and consistent with your actions.

Lead with trust by showing others you can be counted on and that you believe you can count on them, then act in integrity with that belief. You’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much you earn their trust, and they yours.

Lisa Holden Rovers, MSc, CPHR, PCC, is the Founder of Workplace Matters. Since 2005, she has been coaching small and mid-sized business leaders to grow their influence and inspire their teams to thrive. With her data-driven coaching and training approach, Lisa helps clients improve collaboration, productivity, and well-being. As a certified leadership and team coach, Lisa utilizes solutions like Everything DiSC® and The Five Behaviors® to help clients leverage their strengths and build high-performing teams.

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