30 Aug 2021 | One of the first things I learned when I joined Intégro was that it is behaviour that builds trust, not trustworthiness – which got me thinking about our current work situation.

With so many people working remotely for at least some, if not all of the time, we can’t see each other’s behaviour. What impact is that having on trust in the workplace?

Because I’m hearing so much about the challenge of maintaining trust in the current environment, I thought this was an appropriate time to refresh your memory of the Intégro Trust Model, particularly the four behaviours that build trust. While it is easier to see these behaviours when we are face-to-face, we can still actively work on using them when working remotely. Let’s revisit these four behaviours to see how we can continue to build trust while working remotely:

Acceptance – who you are is okay with me, being nonjudgemental of the person. Are you making sure you let teammates know that you value and respect them? How can we make up for all those little spontaneous moments at work where people communicate their acceptance of each other with a smile.

Two of the most powerful ways of communicating acceptance are by giving praise and encouraging others. Look for opportunities to send little messages of praise and encouragement to your teammates.

Openness – the second behaviour that builds trust requires two-way communication. Yes, it’s important for leaders to be transparent and communicate openly with all team members. It is equally as important for team members to be open with their leaders and for the leader to be receptive to what they have to say.

A great way to increase openness when working remotely is to have regular check-ins with each person. For example, starting off each virtual team meeting by asking each team member to rate how they’re feeling on a ten-point scale – where 1 is “I’m struggling” and 10 is “I feel fantastic”. Encourage open sharing and the willingness to ask for help. Creating a climate of acceptance and psychological safety is the key to creating a high level of openness.

Congruence – the third behaviour, is saying what you mean and meaning what you say – being straightforward. It also means practising what you preach. Working remotely is not an excuse for letting standards slip or for avoiding difficult conversations. It is a lot easier for people to stay silent in a virtual meeting which can result in teams not having the conversations they need to have.

A good way to get better at straightforwardness is to practice giving and receiving feedback.  One of the best ways I have found of doing that is to clarify expectations by asking teammates, “what do you expect of me?” and, “may I share with you what I expect from you?”

Reliability – I do what I say I’ll do. Keeping commitments and following through on action steps are everyone’s responsibility. I’m finding that I need to be much more diligent at taking notes during virtual meetings – I have to remember everything I said I would do and then of course follow through and do it.

One of the things teams can do to ensure high levels of reliability is to summarise team meetings by going around each team member and asking them to share their takeaways and action items with the rest of the team.

All four of these behaviours are essential to building strong trust relationships. It does take more effort to use them when working remotely, but the payoff is definitely worth it.

Intégro has a wide range of tools to assist you to build trust in your organisation that work when together or when working remotely.  To discuss your needs, contact us on support@integro.com.au or phone 1800 222 902