How to build trust with your team
07 Mar 2017
07 Mar, 2017

Let’s be honest, trust isn’t something you can buy or demand from people to give you. You can’t make, nor teach people to trust you. It’s a feeling, which needs to be born and nurtured, and like any feeling, it requires time and continuous investment. Your corporate culture and work environment are extremely important when we speak about building trust with your team. Think about this, when you don’t trust someone or something (the process), you will feel the need to protect yourself, and all your time, effort and energy will be spent on that, rather than the project and your tasks. Therefore, your responsibility as a manager and/or leader is to build that trust and relationship with your team, so they always feel that you and their colleagues have their back. In this context, you no longer have employees, you have a group of people willing to work longer hours and sacrifice some of their plans if you really need their help.

 

Don’t forget, we are all social animals, and the feeling of belongingness is one of our basic needs, just like the need for food and shelter (source: Maslow’s pyramid of needs).

So, here’s a few things you need to know about building trust with your team:

 

Be open and honest about your vision & values

 

Start with WHY. Why should your team trust you? Well, the sense of trust usually comes when you share the same set of values and beliefs with other people. So be sure to communicate openly with your team, about the company’s vision and goals, where is it going, what are the methods, why each process is important and valuable. When a person understands why do they need to do certain tasks, how these bring help and value to their colleagues - the workflow becomes a lot more meaningful and enjoyable. Always be honest!

 

Consistency

 

Always do what you say you’ll do. Don’t make empty promises, don’t find excuses, and don’t commit to things you know you won’t be able to follow up through. This is the essence of building trust with your team. Model the behavior you seek from your teammates. Making promises, and occasionally not delivering them, will only make your team trust you less.

Team vs Personal Goals

 

It’s the core of teamwork. You can have 6 people pulling hard in 6 different directions, with no result and lots of energy lost. Or, have 6 people pulling moderately in the same direction, accomplishing great and fast results, and saving time for a coffee break and some friendly chats. You get the point, over 90% of those who don’t feel satisfied with their work anymore, describe the lack of a helpful environment as being one of the reasons (source: Simon Sinek). Help your team, instead of rushing home to watch that football game or freshly released movie.

 

Everyone is a partner

 

A great deal of trust is built with respect when each employee (new or old, full or part-time, top or entry level) feels important and as part of the team. This implies knowing your employees' names, asking them how they’re doing and how’s their family, consulting with them for ideas and opinions on various projects. Always give credit and appreciation to those who helped, and always treat all your team members as equals.

 

Be open-minded

 

Back to the point of asking for ideas. Never ever create an environment where your team thinks that their opinion and input do not matter, where you impose your own wants and strategies without even taking into consideration what others have to say. This will not only harm the trust your team has given to you but also cut-down any type of communication and motivation.

 

Give trust to get trust

 

As simple as that. Delegate. Let your team know that you fully trust their judgment, capabilities, and work. Be sure to follow up from time to time, asking if they need any help with the tasks, but let them lead this one.

 

Take responsibility for your team’s mistakes

 

When somebody from your team makes a mistake, take responsibility for that mistake in front of the management. Protect your team, show them that you have their back, and you’re all together in this. Help them process the situation, and learn from it, maybe even share it with the rest of the team. Also, try to create an environment where your employees are not afraid to make a mistake - because that might get them fired or yelled at. Let them know that if they are in trouble or struggling with something, you are there to listen and help.

 

And lastly, love your team, be friends with them, interact with them, have fun with them! These are all human beings, with a whole lot of things, emotions, troubles, and dreams in their head. Take time to get to know each of them, understand their strengths and weaknesses, learn about their dreams and fears. This will all help you build a stronger, more genuine relationship of trust and respect, where your employees feel safe, protected and cared for.

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