Building a Trusting Team

Building a Trusting Team

Does your team trust you? Do they trust each other? Even more importantly, do you trust them?

A successful team is founded on trust. Without vulnerability and trust, you won’t see your employees’ fullest potential, and you certainly won’t see positive business results.

A trusting team also doesn’t happen overnight, and many circumstances can lead to a lack of trust or a building of trust within a team or individually. From skeptical new hires to seasoned employees who haven’t seen promised follow-through, trust is tested each and every day by the behaviors modeled or permitted.

Through my experience, there are three main traits of a trusting team.

But before I share these, it’s important first to identify the traits of a team in need of more trust. It’s unlikely you’ll ever hear an employee share their feelings, especially if you’re not conducting one-on-ones and giving them the opportunity to. But they’ll show it. In their work, in their attitudes, and their lack of effort. 

A lack of trust within a team manifests in different ways but ultimately is defined as unproductive behaviors. In my post, I mention a few examples of non-functioning teams, such as lack of participation, effort, and productivity. These are pretty important if you want business growth!

A larger, more concerning sign is a lack of respect. This can be displayed as purposeful ignorance of team members’ needs, omitting supportive information from team members, and in some cases, trying to sabotage team members. This toxic behavior will bring down a team faster than anything.

While these signs can often go unnoticed because they are smaller, maybe even infrequent behaviors, over time, it adds up and erodes the team’s health, eventually crumbling any success.

So what does a trusting team look like?

3 Signs of a Trusting Team

  1. They Speak Up

When someone feels trusted with their team, they feel confident to speak up. They are more likely to share their opinion, ask questions, and even challenge others in a healthy way when the intention is the betterment of the team.

They are less likely to feel judged, ridiculed, combative, or gossiped about after meetings and when working with team members. 

  1. They Have High Engagement

While a work environment may be challenging, within a trusting team, members will still be engaged. There’s a “we’re in it together” mindset, working together to find solutions, even if answers aren’t known.

Every team member puts forth full effort for the team and supports others as available.

  1. They Are Successful

The surest sign of a trusting team is success. They are getting results, and they are moving forward, not only working on the day-to-day but also looking ahead.

They understand their roles, and team members work towards clearly defined goals in an aligned fashion to achieve or go above and beyond expectations.

Identifying the traits of a trusting team is only half the equation, and understanding how to build and grow a team in trust is the other half. And as the leader or manager, it begins with you.

How do you achieve a trusting team?

Modeling trusting behavior is how you achieve the traits of a trusting team and business growth. It needs to become a part of your culture. 

Follow these 5 steps to building a trusting team:

Step 1: Determine (and ask your team) what they need in order to be successful.

Step 2: Determine what you need to have from your team.

Step 3: Help them learn and appreciate other people’s work styles and clearly define work expectations (workloads) 

Step 4: Commit to one-on-one conversations with team members.

Step 5: Commit to structured team meetings.

Let’s quickly talk about steps 4 and 5. These are extremely important. If you’re  not conducting one-on-one’s, you’re not giving space for employees to open up about how they are truly feeling. If they aren’t trustful, they won’t speak in a team meeting, but they more likely will in a one-on-one. These also afford you the opportunity to ask how you can support them better.

Structured team meetings allow you to develop your trusting team (and keep a pulse on how they interact together) and one-on-ones take it to the individual level. 

“If people like you they will listen to you, but if they trust you, they’ll do business with you.” – Zig Ziglar.

There’s a lot of people we trust. Our doctors, family, close friends, even neighbors. But think about how much time you spend every week with your co-workers and employees? A lot! If you’re experiencing the symptoms of an untrusting team, it’s time to call for a free 15-minute assessment to identify and get your team’s health back on track.

Make sure you don’t miss another blog! Follow me on LinkedIn or subscribe to my newsletter and receive blogs, resources, and freebies on HR and Leadership right to your inbox!