Build Team Trust Using the Wheel of Trust™ As You Manage Offshore Virtual Teams
It is impossible to overstate the importance of team trust and accountability in business (as with all human) relationships. Accountability and trust are spoken of in the same breath because they are interrelated. Accountability provides the energy for the virtual team’s day-to-day activities, but team trust is the larger concept and at the very core of all human interactions. And trust develops over time…
Here is Yael speaking more about the Wheel of Trust™:
In the virtual environment, team trust develops once team members realize that their teammates are reliable. Acting responsibly is important for all teams, but it is even more critical within virtual teams because they are working across distance, time and space.
Team trust is extremely important because it creates a place for people to interact and connect with each other. Those connections- similar to the axles on the wheels of a car- enable teams to function efficiently and develop long-term relationships.
Yael Zofi refers to these trust- building axles in chapter 4 of her latest book, A Manager’s Guide to Virtual Teams, as four ‘spokes’ in the Wheel of Trust™.
Honesty-Trust: Do I trust you tell the truth?
Competence-Trust: Do I trust you to know what you’re doing?
Commitment-Trust: Do I trust you to follow through on your word?
Representation-Trust: Do I trust you to represent me when I’m not in the room?
They must work together to create Trust Synchronization and build accountability in your virtual team.
“Team trust is actually one of my favorite chapters in the book. It’s also a lot of my work is around helping teams build team trust. It’s hard enough to build trust with any team, virtual or not, but it is the glue that hold us together. When I coach managers about trust they usually say “Oh, we don’t have trust in our team we need to build trust…” but really you want to build accountability and your outcome is trust. Especially in the virtual world because trust is something that over our experiences of interacting and working together over time we build trust and obviously we know that it takes, it’s very quick to break trust.
What’s interesting in the virtual space is there’s something that is called instant trust which is usually people trust each other instantly until it’s broken. It’s very fragile, instant trust. For example: I promise to send you an email and then I don’t, so you instantly trust me but then I didn’t follow through on my commitment and that could break our trust and that could lead to potential conflict down the line. What you want to shoot for or hope for as a manager and as a team is to build a long lasting trust or I call it just lasting trust. There are four ways to do that, and I call it the wheel of trust because if you’re driving along and you’re trying to build your capability the four components of trust building.
The first is honesty-trust. Honesty-trust is do I trust you to tell the truth. I often say you’ve got to give trust to get trust and it starts with that basic human element, honesty. Be honest. So if you made a mistake face it and move on from it. If you can’t deliver on something, bring it up and try to find a solution. So do I trust you to be honest is the first one.
The second is competence-trust, and competence-trust is do I trust you know what you’re doing, to have the competence. Usually virtual teams are formed because we have different capabilities or abilities to do to get the work done, so do you have the confidence to do it.
The third is commitment-trust, do I trust you to follow through on your word. So if you told me you’re going to send me something and you do, that builds trust.
And the fourth one, which is unique to virtual teams in particular because we don’t always have the impersonal capability to interact, is representation-trust. If you think of representation-trust, think of a lawyer or an accountant that represents you in an audit or a lawyer that represents you in a court case, do I trust you to represent me when I’m not in the room, because many times in a virtual space you might be in a meeting and you’re representing our team.
So those four need to work together for team trust and the outcome of working together those four is building accountability within your team.”