After a decade of running an agency based on remote and flexible work, and accompanying other companies in their transformation, I can affirm that the basis of the sense of belonging boils down to: freedom, trust, and assertive communication.
In a context in which many companies are regionalizing and expanding their services for which they need to incorporate collaborators from other cities or countries, and in which companies (increasingly) also decide to incorporate talent into their teams without taking into account their location geographical, forming a good team is one of the pillars to do it successfully. A solid and committed group is the basis for these remote processes to work.
Three keys to achieving a sense of belonging in a remote work team
1) Create trust
“How do I trust?” is one of the questions I hear most when consulting companies and leaders. Create it! Ask yourself:
* What judgment do I have about this person?
* This trial, is it founded? Did that happen once or does it always happen? Did it happen to me or did they tell me?
* If the trials are founded, what do you want to do? What actions can you generate, different, to return to the path of trust?
* Evaluate the 4 points on which trust is based: reliability (does this person keep his promises? Has he done it in the past?), sincerity (is he consistent between what he says and does?), competence (what skills and resources do they have to act effectively?), involvement (am I involved with this person or do I leave it to them alone to decide when and how to improve the relationship?).
2) Promote the freedom to achieve excellence
It is about releasing the “control mode”; that is, the need for all people to do things according to my criteria. When we want to know exactly what, how, when, where the other person is doing their work and we cannot, we enter into a paradox: we become slaves to that very control that we want to exercise; we are controlled by our own beliefs (“if she doesn’t answer me in less than a minute she means she isn’t working or engaged”, etc.).
In general, those who identify with the demand exercise this “control mode”. The proposal is to work to achieve excellence, instead of clinging to the requirement. Therefore, training leaders is essential in all organizations.
3) Apply and encourage assertive communication
It is very important to learn to listen to the work teams and the people who make them up individually, as well as to give an answer. For this, assertive communication is key. Some points that help:
* Exercise active listening. Are you present when your team speaks to you or are you thinking about what you want to tell them, what you have to do or even applying your own judgments to what they are saying?
* When placing an order, are you clear? Do you detail your conditions of satisfaction for that order? Will you generate a context? Do you take into account the skills and abilities of the person you are applying to? Do you open space for acceptance, decline or negotiation?
When we communicate assertively, we enrich relationships, foster trust, and encourage those who work with us to choose us and also become our best ambassadors. Also, we open the space so that those who are not comfortable can leave, without forcing relationships that do not benefit either party.
For all this, in a remote context, the fundamental thing is the human factor and contact. It all comes down to freedom, trust and communication to create teams that choose us (and who we choose).