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Trust and Empathy in Virtual Teams

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Teamwork depends on trust, and trust is built on relationships –and yet many virtual managers fail to ensure their teams have the opportunity to build and develop those relationships.

The truth is that humans are social, empathetic beings.We do best when we can see the people we’re working with, dropping in for spontaneous conversations that may not even be related to work. When people work remotely and only contact their colleagues for business matters, empathy is harder to come by and they begin to feel isolated and unhappy – which leads to less trust, lower productivity and higher costs due to attrition.

 

Talk About Trust in Virtual Teams

Even if it feels awkward to talk about trust, especially when just forming or joining a new virtual team, doing so is key to success. Too many teams wait for an issue to arise and “get bad enough” that a manager needs to step in, meaning it is actually far too late.

With a virtual team, it can be tricky to tell when, how or why trust became an issue, which is precisely why it must be addressed early on. Encourage your team to discuss the behaviors they expect from each other to build trust rather than undermine it.

As manager, you can co-create behavioral norms with your team,addressing trust issues before they arise.

Empathy will promote open communication and build stronger bonds of trust within your virtual team.  Likewise, empathetic virtual team members will become better at resolving conflict, will deliver more effective feedback, and will make better decisions.  Empathy inspires positivity and productivity in all who embody it.  With a little practice your virtual team can master empathy and harness success.

Want to learn more about how to co-create Behavioral norms with your virtual teams. Schedule a free consultation today.

By : Virtual Teambuilders /October 23, 2018 /Uncategorized /0 Comment Read More

Virtual Team Building | Fostering Empathy in the Virtual Environment

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According to a recent study, teams with high levels of geographic, operational and cultural differences also reported lower levels of trust, innovation, satisfaction and performance than did teams with more closely located teammates.

 In other words, virtual teams – while enormously valuable in terms of flexibility and adaptability – do not operate the same way as co-located teams. And the missing ingredient that can take a virtual team from disconnected to high-performing is often empathy.

 Fostering real empathy in the virtual environment

The simple fact is that learning about others –hearing stories about their personal life, goals and experience – activates the parts of the brain that create closer ties with people and lead to a better team dynamic.

When we understand our team, we have a better idea of the challenges ahead of us. Empathy allows us as employees to feel safe, and it allows leaders to help employees improve and excel.

Empathy plays a major role in the workplace for every organization. As virtual leaders, our role is not simple. We have to balance getting the task done and building authentic and sustainable relationships.

Here are two strategies you can use today:

Two Tips for Empathy in Virtual Teams

 1. Listen: Too often, when conversing with colleagues we spend our time planning our response or waiting for an opportunity to interject, when we could simply be listening. This means we’re effectively multi-tasking splitting our attention.Be fully present with your colleague and refrain from checking your phone, answering emails, doing other work, or taking other calls. Give the person your speaking to your undivided attention.

2. Look into the words that you are hearing: If, for example, you find yourself in conversation with an angry colleague, refrain from absorbing their anger within yourself. Instead of responding to words delivered out of frustration, try to understand and respond to the underlying emotion.   You will begin to see that behind a colleague’s irritation may be misunderstanding, judgment, detachment, stress, or other feelings.  When you try to understand those feelings, rather than reacting to angry words, the person will begin to relax, open up, and trust.  In doing this, you and your colleague will begin communicate openly as you both work through the challenge together.

Would you like to learn more strategies that you can use to build a strong virtual team? Contact us to learn more about our one-on-one Virtual Mentoring services!

 

By : Virtual Teambuilders /October 22, 2018 /Blog, Building Empathy in a Virtual Environment, Uncategorized /0 Comment Read More
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  • ABOUT US

    Virtual Team Builders is a training and consulting company that caters to corporations and teams who depend on effective virtual collaboration to succeed. Our training is targeted towards the unique challenges faced by teams operating in a virtual environment; challenges that are present whether members work 90 feet apart or 3000 miles apart.