Let’s face it, the workplace as we know it is changing. As companies expand multi-nationally, more employees are becoming remote. With that, comes a larger challenge for managers to personally connect with their employees. Building trust with your remote employees is the first step in personally connecting with them.
Building trust is the best strategy to establish a personal connection with your employees. As a manager, it helps employees believe you are one of them, forging a genuine personal connection. This comes by way of transparency and truthfulness, showing encouragement, giving credit where credit is due, and most importantly, acting human.
Transparency & Truth
Employees, especially those who work remote, want their supervisors to be transparent and truthful. When a change of procedures occurs in the company, or within the team, communicate that to your employees. Employees want you to be direct with them. Keep your employees in the loop by telling them what they need to know as soon as you find out. Your employees are counting on you to deliver them the truth — no matter how good or bad. The more integrity you have, the more your employees will trust and respect you as a boss. If you trust your employees, they will have greater faith in you and your abilities as a manager. Trust starts with you.
No one likes being told what to do, especially from their boss. So instead of commanding your employees, encourage them. Let them take the lead on a project or campaign while you support them. This gives your employees a sense of ownership, which is even more important when working with remote employees. As a manager, you want your employees to feel like you not only support the team’s goals, but their own developmental goals as well. Show them how they can use their unique talents and skills to positively contribute to the company. Your employees trust you to be a mentor, not just their boss. By trusting your employees, they will trust you as a motivator and goal-getter, using your expertise and abilities to get the job done.
Take the Blame and Give Praise
The hardest part of a manager’s job is taking the blame for the team. While it is hard to own up to mistakes, the employees on your team respect you more for it. Instead, take the blame while giving credit to your employees for the work they do. Emphasize that you are all working towards the same goals and that mistakes are just part of the learning process. The more managers harp on mistakes, the more it shakes the self confidence of your employees, hindering them from getting work done. This is extremely important with remote employees because of the increased aptitude of mistakes. Build trust with your employees by giving credit where credit is due to motivate them to work towards shared goals.
Build trust by taking down your wall as a manager and be upfront with your employees. Oftentimes, managers come off as intimidating, or as robotic. There is an even greater challenge with remote employees and managers due to the lack of in person interaction. The key is to humanize yourself so your employees feel like they can talk to you about everyday problems and goals. Managers need to create common ground with employees by creating trust through shared experiences. Managers have for the most part already been in the same shoes as their employees and are the best people to offer advice for any career problems. As a manager, setup occasional one-on-ones with your employees to figure out what your remote employees’ stress points are with work, to review progress on their goals, or to just chat about their career. By specifically coming down to their level and humanizing yourself as a manager, you can find common ground with your remote employees. Once you do so, trust is created.
Managing remote employees is not easy. It takes a lot of patience and advocacy to make sure everyone on your team (local and remote employees) is a team player. To do this, you must personally connect with your remote employees by building trust. By creating that connection, you can show your employees that you are rooting for them every step of the way, and that you appreciate the work they contribute to the team. In return, you will have a trusting team built on personal connection. Follow these steps to build trust with your remote employees now.