Test Leader Remotely? 3 Tips for Building Trust

Being a test leader remotely presents various challenges. For instance, you may need to manage cultural differences and establish a conducive environment for collaboration and trust. Today, as more companies and organizations work with outsourced teams and/or operate remotely due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, it may lead you, as a test leader, to ponder on how best to work with your team. Building trust within the team from the outset increases your chances of having a more successful team. Here, I share my top 3 tips for creating that strong and crucial trust.


Whether you’re a test leader, project manager, coach, or hold any other leadership position, trust is what makes the difference when it comes to building a team. The question of trust can be tricky and is often something easily overlooked or at least not considered daily. It’s unfortunate because the issue of trust should always be high on the agenda and ideally be at the forefront of every leader’s mind – every day and in every meeting. Both remotely and in the office.


Failing to build trust between you and your team is a surefire way to create stress and conflicts within the team. This, in turn, results in the team performing poorly together – ultimately leading to subpar results.


There are, of course, many ways in which you as a leader can build trust, but here are three factors that I believe are important for success:


To gain trust, you must give trust.


This is probably not a surprise to anyone, but I believe everyone on your team will move mountains to repay the simple yet powerful gesture of respect that good trust can provide. Regularly giving away your authority is always a good way to build trust and earn respect. For example, when holding meetings, why not rotate the responsibility and let different people lead the meeting? Secondly, try to delegate decision-making to individuals or the entire team as often as possible.


Always keep the information flowing.


Your team members will thrive better when they understand the context of their work, when they realize they are part of a bigger picture, and that their work is important for the success of the project or delivery. Always keep your team informed about ups and downs, as well as what is discussed in project meetings, steering committees, or any other useful information that gives your team a holistic view of the project or delivery. Your transparency shows that you trust your team members when you share important information with them.


Show leadership.


Remember to show that you too are only human. If you make a mistake – admit it. If you’re interested in feedback on your performance, ask for it, and then do something positive with the input you receive. When you’ve received feedback, it’s also important to remember to loop that feedback back to your team members and thank them for their input. When something goes wrong, it’s you as the leader who needs to take the first initial “hit”, dare to step into the spotlight and have your team members’ backs. Afterwards, when the situation has been handled, encourage your team to share the lessons learned. It’s a double win for your mistakes – use your own errors to teach others!


Matthias is a senior consultant with extensive experience as a test analyst, tester, test manager, QA coach, test strategist and project manager. He has a documented experience of managing large and small groups both in-house and offshore. His calm and methodical approach to various tasks means that he has a strong ability to create trust in those around him.


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