Trust is the base of teamwork, they say. But what if the team members don’t trust each other?

If you have ever been a manager of a team whose members didn’t trust each other, you’d know how stressful and challenging it can be to achieve goals.

Without trust, a team is just a group of people. Even with the most talented and skilled individuals, a team won’t be able to meet targets if they don’t work together as a unit. That is why managers need to think about how to create trust in a team.

Why? Just think about it, would you cooperate or share any information with someone you don’t trust? No. And that can often be a roadblock in a team’s progress.

As a leader, it becomes your responsibility to think about how to build trust in a team. Understanding the team’s needs will help you take further steps.

How To Build Trust In A Team

The Bruce Tuckman Model offers a useful framework to team managers. It shows the four stages of team formation that can point you towards an answer to the question: how do you build trust in a team. Learn in detail about this framework in Harappa’s Managing Teamwork course.

To get you started, here are simple techniques on how to build trust among team members:

1. Establish open communication

Try to make your team members communicate openly and honestly with one another. Here are a few ways you can do this.

First, create a team charter that clearly defines the team’s purpose and each person’s role. Start your first team meeting by presenting this charter and encourage discussion around it.

Ask the team members to share their expectations. Their inputs are likely to give you hints that will help you address the question: how to build trust in a team.

Another popular ice-breaker technique you can try is organizing team building activities. Choose the activities carefully. In the course of these activities, you will observe team members starting to communicate openly with each other.

2. Lead by example

Leaders lead by example. If you want to build trust within your team, show them that you trust others. This not only includes your team members but your colleagues and bosses as well.

Knowingly or unknowingly, people you lead will always be watching you and trying to emulate your actions.

But how do you build trust in a team when working remotely? You have to go the extra mile and treat your team as you would face-to-face.

What does that mean? Attending video calls, being on time for conference calls, and letting your remote team members know about your absence. You also need to check-in with them about their well-being and see if there is anything you can do to make their work experience better.

But how does that influence the trust-building within the team? Well, the team will get a chance to see that you are someone who follows through on the promises you make.

When they pick up positive cues from you, it will make it easier for them to communicate with other team members. A positive vibe and approach are infectious, and it will spread to all members of the team, even though everyone may be working remotely.

3. Know each other personally

Want to know how to build trust among team members?

Humans are social animals. It’s easier to trust a person when you know something about who they are as people. That’s why informal meetings, team-building activities, work socials and ice-breakers are useful for team members to get to know each other.

Additionally, you can set aside time ever so often to hold informal group discussions. It’s proven that people open up more during casual conversations. At every casual meet-up, discuss a topic—preferably not directly related to work assignments—and solicit views from everyone.  That’s another trick on how to build trust in a team.

Encourage your team members to find things they have in common and can bond over.

4. Don’t play the blame game

When you work in a team, you are bound to come across mistakes and face disappointment. And it’s easier to blame someone else rather than taking responsibility for your actions. Indulging in the blame game lowers team morale and hurts the team’s productivity.

How To Rebuild Trust With Your Team

Encourage the team to think about mistakes constructively. Instead of blaming each other, ask what they can do to fix what happened, and how to build trust among team members. How can the team avoid being in such a situation in the future?  This will cause them to introspect, take responsibility, and come up with innovative solutions.

Making sure your team gets the most out of the work experience while meeting organizational goals is no easy task.  Your team has to work like a well-oiled machine. That can only happen when there is mutual trust among members.

So, everyone who works with teams should actively think about how to build trust in a team and then take the required steps to ensure that team members back one another to the hilt.

Explore topics such as Difference between Leadership and Management, Team Building, Team Building Activities, Importance of Team Building & Contingency Planning from our Harappa Diaries section and build trust-rich relationships.


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