Trust in Teams

Today’s workplace is filled with teams and team work is critical to the success of businesses.  It allows people to accomplish more by working with others than they would individually.  As leaders we trust the team to get the job done.  For this to happen reliably the team has to trust in each other.  How does this trust get built?

The team has to develop trust that each person will do their part and support the team’s mission.  This trust is built one step at a time through delivering on commitments.  Daily contact and success in meeting the goals helps to build this rapport.  However this can be difficult when the team is not located in the same office or work the same shift.  More and more teams are spread out across geographic areas and crossing shifts.  Doing more with fewer people means more collaboration between the remaining crew.

To help set up the team for success it is imperative to help them build trust in each other and in you.  Here are a few ways that you can help set the stage for a high trust team.

  1. Clear goals.  Having clear goals where each individual’s performance is tied to the success of the team creates a sense of interdependence. 
  2. Accountability.  Stress the importance of being accountable for performance.  If each person knows that they must own their actions and will be held accountable for them they will follow through on commitments.
  3. Model integrity.  Along with accountability demonstrating integrity in each aspect of the work day will show that you are trustworthy.  Set the standard high on integrity, as seen in your actions, and your team will rise to the same level of trustworthiness.
  4. Create interaction.  Trust is only built through interaction that shows commitments will be honored.  The team needs to get to know each other and learn each other’s strengths.  This will help build an understanding of how each person performs over a variety of situations.
  5. Celebrate success.  When milestones have been reached successfully, recognize the team’s efforts.  Celebrate the wins and reinforce the value of teamwork.

Trust starts with one person having faith that someone else will deliver on their commitments.  It gets stronger over time through continual successful fulfillment of expectations.  The more trust the team has in each other and in their leader the higher their performance will be.  They will continue to rise to the challenges that are facing them because they know someone has their back. 

Trust is the foundation of solid teamwork.  It’s built each day through the actions and interactions of each member of the team.  Trust in them and they will trust in you.  Take the time to help make that foundation strong and solid and you will be rewarded with a high performing team.

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3 Comments

Filed under Leadership, Team Building

3 responses to “Trust in Teams

  1. Great article and points Carol. I also think that team interaction is very important. The more the team as a whole works together and understands each other the better the bond is between them. If the bond is good then they work harder because they do not want to let each other down. Giving a team time to bond should be high on the list. In our office we will do lunch or after work appetizers together just as a hang out time. We also have found that celebrating events together has been bond building time. As an office manager I have found that bond building has been one of the best practice builders that we have implemented and the payoff has been 10 fold.

    • Tina,

      It is so true that people need to interact regularly. It sounds like you have a great team that works well together. There have been places I’ve worked where not everyone wanted to socialize together, too much diversity in interests and situations, so connection was accomplished at lunch or other informal office time, like celebrating birthdays in the office.

      Have a great weekend.

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