How to Build Team Trust

graphic that says how to build team trust

The elusive goal of team trust. It’s sometimes hard to define, but you know when it’s there – and when it isn’t. So how do you get it? How do you create a team where everyone is on the same page, working towards the same goals, and you have each other’s backs?

In my opinion, to build team trust like that comes from a foundation of respect and understanding. These things are hard earned on a team but ultimately worth the effort it takes to get there. In my experience, the best way to get that respect and understanding is by:

1) examining your own motivations, behaviors and style and

2) understanding those same things in your colleagues

3) being willing to be adaptable and flexible in the moment

If you want to build team trust, here are a few of the prerequisites for team leaders:

  • Be vulnerable — People trust what they know is authentic. There’s something untrustworthy about the colleague or leader who is all knowing and seemingly infallible. Share your mistakes and when you need help and encourage others to do the same.
  • Show the way – Connect the dots to align your team goals and individual goals with your organizational goals so everyone understands how their efforts contribute to the big picture. Make sure that people understand why their contributions matter.
  • Show recognition – Shine a bright spotlight on team members for their accomplishments. Don’t be shy about it.
  • Take the hits – When things go south, take the blame and then figure out how to correct it together. Don’t throw someone on your team under the bus.
  • Be transparent – Share all the latest news of the organization with your team, explain the organizational changes and financials and be clear about the goals and direction of the company.
  • Don’t let issues linger – Be quick to respond, discuss and work to resolve conflicts and simmering tensions.
  • Create safe space – Foster a culture of open communication, free of judgement. When making decisions, discuss alternative ideas and approaches to arrive at the best approach. And keep your doors open.

Be warned – it takes time to build team trust. There is no magic bullet to creating trust on your team but it does start with a foundation of respect, understanding and acceptance. The best assessment on the market that I have found to help you increase trust and respect quickly is DiSC.

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