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Virtual Leadership Activities that Build Trust Among Teams

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Now more than ever, leadership building activities are becoming more of a priority among teams and organizations as a whole. The reality is that each and every team member has a specific need to be met and among those needs is connection and inclusion to a group of people. This can often be challenging as we have new, shared experiences on a virtual level. However, that doesn’t mean leaders are exempt from pursuing this connection among their team, it just means they need to get creative. It’s proven that when organizations prioritize building relationships, collective genius is possible and future leaders are built.

What do the results look like? Rising leaders begin to come to fruition, people start working together across perceived divisional boundaries to solve problems, advance projects, and implement innovative solutions. This is all possible, on a virtual level when the right effort is put into action.

It starts with you, the leader

When there is a lack of proper leadership, beliefs get in the way of people working effectively. It takes intentional and consistent action to bring about growth in the area of building leadership among teams—one of the best ways to accomplish this growth is through leadership building activities, many of which can be done virtually.

First things first, as a leader, ask yourself what kind of environment you’re creating for your team? Is it one where individual contributors get to know each other personally and they feel free to share each of their stories of lived experiences? These stories reveal actual values, beliefs and principles that guide their actions.

Trust is built through these conversations and genuine identity is revealed. This is often how you’re able to identify the characteristics you’re looking for in your future leadership as well. In order for this type of open communication to happen, leaders must become comfortable with differences. Whether it’s differences in perspectives, lived experiences, personalities, race, gender, etc. Keep in mind, It’s these variances that make organizations great.

Building emerging leaders and fostering trust

When team members truly know where someone comes from, how they identify themselves, and their strengths/weaknesses, a sense of place and belonging naturally begins to happen. From this, ideas begin to be explored and challenged and next steps taken. In some cases, this may even be in the form of individuals finally feeling a sense of belonging enough that they share with you their desire to be a part of future leadership.

How do you, as a leader, begin to put this into action?

Start by spending time sharing your personal story with your team. Next, send team members questions to answer so that they’re invited into a time of self-reflection and feel the freedom to share their story about how they want to be known.

One of the most effective ways to build trust among your team is to provide the basis for individuals to get to know each other on an individual basis. Better yet, leadership building activities build community and community is an essential component of a thriving business.

Let’s take a closer look at some innovative ways to build those relationships, foster an environment of community, and engage your future leaders, even virtually.

Top 3 leadership activities to build community and trust

  1. Open meetings with an icebreaker—Allow designated time in meetings to create a comfortable environment. This is often best accomplished at the start of the meeting. Now, you may be thinking the much dreaded icebreaker is not the answer, but, hear us out! Here’s some creative and fun ice breaker ideas that are far from ordinary.
    • Icebreaker idea #1: Draw your mood. Set Up a Zoom whiteboard and instead of asking everyone to share how they are feeling with words, have them draw a picture. It’s sure to spark creativity and guaranteed laughs.
    • Icebreaker idea #2: The Zoom background challenge. Ask team members to select a Zoom background that best represents them and then vote on the best one!
    • Icebreaker idea #3: Virtual Quiz. In advance to your meeting, ask team members a series of questions (ie: what time do you normally wake up in the morning? What’s a hidden talent, we’d be surprised by?, etc.) and then create an online quiz for them to take and vote on with multiple choice listing the team members by name. There’s a few platforms available such as Slido that make it easy!
  2. Book a Fika (a Swedish word interpreted as a ‘coffee and cake’ break)—This time is set aside on a regular basis (recommended weekly) and designated for personal talk only over coffee or tea. Work talk is not allowed during this time and team members are encouraged to just catch up as friends. During this time, have conversation prompts ready. Ask you team members to share personal stories. For instance, where did you grow up? How many siblings do you have/what’s your birth order? What was a challenge you faced in childhood that shaped you today?
  3. Build check-ins into your team meetings—For example, open up the floor for dialogue outside of work talk. By selecting a chosen topic or question to focus on, it’ll encourage team members to engage more openly. Ask things like: What’s one word or phrase for the intention you’re bringing today? What are you looking forward to this week? What’s your favorite leadership/professional development book and why? An additional idea is to set aside leadership specific activities like asking each team member to share their leadership story. Give team members a designated amount of time to share more of where they came from and where they want to go in terms of leadership roles.

Next steps:

These are just a few ways to begin building trust and community through leadership building exercises, virtually. We’ve found that being creative in the ways you engage and lead your teams helps keep members connected even through the distance. Our Leadership Development Program equips current leaders with the tools they need to build future leaders within their organizations. Some of those tools include implementation of activities like the above, to build trust among members . Want to book a complimentary consultation to learn more about how we can help? Simply fill out THIS FORM.

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Scott Hackman is the Founder and CVO of Scott Hackman Ventures. He has over 15 years of experience in business advising, coaching, and leading growth through transitions.
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