Perspectives

DO YOU TRUST ENOUGH? BUILDING TRUST IN TEAMS

We can all build trust by being honest and transparent in our communication, sharing our opinions respectfully and in good time, and by being consistent in our actions. Integrity and authenticity are also the hallmarks of trusted leaders.
We can all build trust by being honest and transparent in our communication, sharing our opinions respectfully and in good time, and by being consistent in our actions. Integrity and authenticity are also the hallmarks of trusted leaders.

DO YOU TRUST ENOUGH? BUILDING TRUST IN TEAMS

But this credibility and trust is earned and is not automatic. Regardless of our status or job title, trust is a currency that is not ours by right. When we operate with honesty, transparency, respect, consistency, integrity, and authenticity we are repaid in trust.

What Does a Trusting Team Look Like


We all have an idea of what an ideal work environment looks like: it might be agile, flexible, or filled with perks.But when it comes to team dynamics and culture, what does a highly trusting team look like?

Most importantly, teams that have high levels have trust are filled with people who are quick to acknowledge and own their mistakes. Why? Because they know that their colleagues will help them find solutions, and not simply blame them. This psychological safety generates confidence to share mistakes, leading to quicker resolution for customers and stakeholders and develops a culture of learning.

This confidence to admit mistakes in highly trusting teams is generated because everyone supports one another to get the job done. People ask for help when they need it, with confidence that people will respond with either a “yes”, or a genuine and well-reasoned “no”.

Knowing that they can trust each other means team members are more likely to put forward their ideas, confident that they won’t be shot down, and that their colleagues will seek to build and develop their ideas, or help them to pivot to a better solution.

And the best thing about a team with high levels of trust? The sound they make – the laughter and optimistic intonation. If you hear a team that’s always laughing, it’s probably not because they are not working, but because they are working so well, as a trusting team.

What Does it Look Like When Trust Breaks Down?


When trust breaks down, you may notice teams members struggling alone. They’ve lost the confidence in their colleagues to support them. Perhaps they’ve been shot down when they had a good idea. Perhaps people always say no when they ask for help. Maybe failures are criticised instead of learned from. Or people make promises they can’t keep.

This generally leads to people failing to admit their mistakes, hiding truths or lying, or hoping their problems will go away. Processes will be slower or break, and other departments or customers will start to sense something is wrong. 

Worst of all is the sound these teams make. Either there’s a stony silence or, when the pot boils over, there are shouts and recriminations. 

How Do We Know How Trusting We Are?


Regardless how well you think your team is doing when it comes to having a culture of trust. Its good to make a habit of regularly asking the following question to understand your team:

  • What do you notice about how people talk to each other?
  • How comfortable are your team members in sharing their ideas and challenging each other’s ideas?
  • Where do team members go for support?
  • When was the last time someone acknowledged a mistake publicly? And what happened when they did?

These questions are a great starting point for considering how well your team’s trust culture is holding up, especially through these times of challenge and uncertainty. 

Make a habit of asking yourself and your team members these questions regularly.

We held a webinar to explore building trust in our teams. 

The webinar covers:

  • What a high trusting team looks like and how to create that for yourself
  • How we know who to trust and why
  • Re-building relationships when the trust is broken

Watch the recording here 

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