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Handshaking
Trust makes the world go round
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Peili PenPal Rita Murray tells about herself: I’m a trainer, consultant and coach, love working in particular with international groups when I can really see the benefits from Peili behavioural profile!

The world seems to get smaller now that we are working on daily basis with people from other locations and countries. More and more people work in projects globally but perhaps never meet their colleagues face to face. Maybe your “nearest” and most important team members/colleagues might actually be in the ends of the earth from where you are standing!

You might think that it doesn’t really matter if you don’t know anything about the people you are working with, after all, you might never meet them. But is that really so? What is the real quality of collaboration and communication? Do your projects meet the deadline? Do you succeed? Would it be useful to know “your mates” a bit better? And how do you do that when people don’t have the opportunity to travel miles for start-ups and meetings? Also, many professionals don’t see any value in becoming friends with team members – particularly if they are very task-oriented and matter-of-fact type.

In order not to alienate those more task-oriented pros I suggest that you start by sharing in (enough) detail what your role/task is in the project/enterprise. You share your expectations for the project. What do you need from your colleagues and from your project manager. What is of particular interest to you personally, what motivates you (very useful for the project manager to know!) You can share your top skills and also what you would like to learn during the project.

That keeps the attention in the more concrete work and yet you are already getting an idea of your team members: pay attention to their communication, really listen. You could share just one personal detail, perhaps what you like doing in your free time, what is your favourite hobby.

The key is to start building trust already in the first project meeting. First of all, it is important that everyone knows what is meant with trust. And here the leader of the team has a crucial role and task becoming the role model for behaviour for others in the project.

Have you ever thought what it is that makes you trust somebody? How can you tell that others trust you? Four behaviours need to be present in communication and collaboration with others: openness, straightforwardness (that is honesty, directness), reliability and acceptance. Of those four, which one do you think would be no 1 in importance when working globally?

When I think of multi-site and virtual work in general, I would suggest reliability. If you tell your colleagues that you will always reply their messages and emails the following morning, or in two hours or in three days and then you stick to that – you are being seen reliable. It means you are sticking to your promise. If you are supposed to deliver a report next Monday, you will deliver it on Monday. If you can’t, you will let others know why you are not able to do that. Others see you congruent (honest) as well as open and your reliability won’t crumble.

Openness is important. It means that you willingly share what your fellow team members need to know at any given time. You might have experiences of working with someone who never lets you know what’s going on. His/her work might be crucial to you and others in the team to get on with the good work. “No news is good news” does not apply here! When we are in situation when we don’t get the information needed this void gets filled anyway! Wondering, gossiping, imagination starts creating a story: They are not doing their job, they are not up to this project, they are hiding something from us…And trust starts fading. After all, what is left if there is no trust in your team, your organisation or your family…

Colonel Vesa Nissinen (Finnish army) created a leadership model he calls Deep Leading. What he does with everybody is to trust them 100%. From start. After all, he must be able to trust his soldiers in crisis! Can you trust your colleagues in projects the same way, 100%?

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