UK
EN

Managing Virtual Teams in the Professional Service Sector: The Essential Elements 

JUMP TO SECTION

In this series TPC Leadership wants to lend a helping hand to Professional Service organisations and dive into discussions surrounding virtual teams. In this first blog, we consider the importance of trust in hybrid working environments.

As the impact of the first UK lockdown hit and forced many businesses to switch how they operate overnight, we now are functioning two years later in a hybrid working world. We have moved from the comfort of the traditional office environment to virtual working and it looks like it is here to stay. Teams have now got used to working remotely together, but, are remote teams working with trust?

How do we define trust?

Patrick Lencioni, who devised a pyramid model to illustrate the five characteristics of a cohesive team, defines trust in terms of vulnerability — if team members are comfortable being open about their mistakes and weaknesses because they know they have the support of their colleagues, performance will improve.

Once trust is established as a foundation, teams have confidence to tackle conflict resolution, and this leads to a firm commitment to each other and to the team’s purpose. Then they hold each other accountable and this accountability gets results.

lencioni.ppt.pptx

Why does trust matter?

In today’s workplace people need to be proactive, creative, able to take ownership and be confident in prototyping ideas. Team members need a level of openness to challenge and a willingness to co-create with others. Trust underpins all of that — unless you can win and feel trust, it’s difficult to maximise the resources you have in your team.

Charles Brook, Founder and Partner at TPC Leadership, often refers to how our company has worked virtually for 20 years. Part of our USP has been to offer employees the space to live their lives as they wish, trusting they will make sure clients are happy. “We don’t measure inputs, we measure outputs,” Charles explains. “I’ve only had one experience in that time where trust was given and results weren’t delivered.”

Organisations who have been thrown into virtual working because of the pandemic have had similar experiences — they had to trust their people to work virtually and consequently found they worked effectively, and in some cases exceeded expectations, without the burden of constant evaluation.

One concern for Charles is that organisations will try to leverage software to monitor people working virtually and that this will undermine the trust it can inspire. Removing trust from the core of your virtual teams risks stifling their creativity and productivity.

How to create trust

Charles explains that “trust is not a given — it takes time and effort to create it.” New teams can tend to bypass that and focus on results. But when this happens Lencioni’s pyramid is upended, and teams lose the stability and productivity that comes from the trust at its foundation.

“Remember that teams are made up of people and people need good relationships with those around them” Charles says. “It’s difficult to think beyond results, but by taking time to build relationships, you are securing the foundations of trust. The results will follow.”

“I always start off by asking everyone in the team what’s going on for them — I want to hear what they’re thinking and what they’re feeling,” Charles explains. It’s about giving employees and leaders the opportunity to share vulnerability and grow trust with each other.

Catherine Bardwell, TPC Leadership CRM Partner, recalls the impact of sharing her vulnerability as a leader at a training event. Having just received a message that a friend was passing away, Catherine had the courage to share how she was feeling at that moment. This inspired her trainees to offer deep insights about themselves as leaders and a foundation of mutual trust and growth was established.

Trust improves ROI

The bottom line is that investing in trust will positively impact your ROI. When built on trust, teams will be more functional, creative, engaged and committed. Team members will hold each other accountable and achieve better results.

Looking for insight on developing your virtual teams? Get in touch with us to find out how we help Professional Service organisations.

Share this article:

Topics:

Tagged:

Read Next

“Othering” and the impact on teams and organizations

Christian Scholtes, TPCL Global Chair and the partner from the TPCL Romanian office, delves into the complex and often overlooked phenomenon of “Othering” and its profound impact on teams and

Cultivating Work Enjoyment and Psychological Safety

Cultivating Work Enjoyment and Psychological Safety

FREE GUIDE - Rediscovering Workplace Joy in 2024 - Cultivating Work Enjoyment and Psychological Safety - Explore practical strategies for cultivating work enjoyment and psychological safety in the workplace with

Select Your Location and Language

Use our site switcher to easily navigate between our different offices (in your preferred language where available), or select “Global” for our head office.

Global
UK
EN

Local Sites

Belgium
EN
Belgium
FR
Belgium
NL
Brazil
EN
Brazil
PT
France
EN
Germany
DE
Germany
EN
India
EN
Italy
EN
Netherlands
EN
Netherlands
NL
Romania
EN
Switzerland
EN
Türkiye
EN
UK
EN
USA
EN

Download Brochure

Fill in the form to download your copy today.

Book Your Free Discovery Call Now

Fill in the form below to book a 15 min no-obligation discovery session.