20 Ways to Build Trust on Your Team
Building trust on your team – something every good manager thinks about yet this remains a challenging area for many managers.
In this article, I am going to take you through 20 ways to build trust on your team grouped into four categories. As I am these sharing ideas, I will give a quick explanation for each. I started off like everyone else – a new manager trying to work out what to do. Many of these tips were given to me from some of the great managers I had, and I have used them for over 25 years of managing teams.
20 Ways to Build Trust on Your Team (in four categories):
- Build Relationships
- Be Open and Honest
- Support and Praise
- Pay Fairly
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Build personal relationships – the first way to build trust on your team
Find out what they like, what they do outside work, if they have kids and so on. Be interested in them. This does not mean you have to be best friends, just build a personal relationship as well as the professional one. And of course, tell them a bit about your non-work self.
2. Think of your team members as people not robots
They need breaks, they approach solving problems slightly differently from you and they have their own ideas, wants and ambitions. Treat them like people and they will reward you many times over with better work and results for the team.
Check in with each team member – the third way to build trust on your team
Ask what they are thinking and how they are feeling and listen to what they say. You can learn loads about what is going well, what problems there are and ideas on how to fix them, and why your team member might be having a bad day. Ask and listen.
4. Get senior management in front of the team
Your team get to hear plans straight from the horse’s mouth as such, get opportunities to network and get exposure. The senior managers also a chance for feedback direct from the coal face. Both parties win.
Keep things informal – fifth way to build trust on your team
Speak to team members and write emails in an informal way. This creates helps create a much more positive culture within the team. As you are the leader, you set the rules by the actions you do.
Be open and honest – the sixth way to build trust on teams
I am a big fan of being open and honest in managing teams. Being open and honest certainly builds trust and I have experienced a lot of team performance benefits personally and seen it at clients including in heavily unionised teams. The next few ways are all about being open and honest in action.
7. Be direct in your feedback
Tell it how it is. Praise great behaviour and results. Call out poor performance – in private – with the individuals concerned and help them correct it. Make sure people know where they stand. Just a note – being direct is not about being blunt. You still need to be considerate of feelings and the individuals. Just tell it how it is.
Agree on team principles – the eighth way to build trust on teams
Agree the principles of how the team should act and behave with all the team members. Make sure everyone inputs into the agreement. Then you job is adhere to those principles yourself and make sure the team members do too. This creates a same principle for everyone situation.
The ninth way to build trust is to talk about trust issues openly with the team
For instance, sharing financial or commercially sensitive information with the team with the principle that they will not share it outside the company or team. If trust problems arise, bring them up in your one-to-one meetings or in team meetings if appropriate and get the group to agree to the action.
Admit to mistakes: tenth way to build trust on your team
You will make mistakes. The wide company will make mistakes. Have the confidence to acknowledge them with your team and explain what is being done to put them right or the action that has been taken.
The eleventh way to build trust is to be fair when giving feedback
This is about providing balanced feedback as well as being specific when providing praise or pointing out to someone that they didn’t do something so well. Also offer advice on how it could be improved. The more specific your feedback and example led, the more likely your feedback will be fair, rather than voicing opinions.
12. Avoid pursuing a naming and shaming culture
Very few employees ever come to work with the intention of doing a poor job. We all want to do our best and providing help and support is much more productive for everyone, and much more likely that the employee in question will improve.
Spend the time to train, teach, mentor and coach – the thirteenth way to build trust on your team
If you are the manager, you will have areas that you can help your team members improve by passing on your knowledge and experience. Make the time to do this. You will get back a lot more than you put in.
The fourteenth way to build trust on your team is to listen before speaking
Take the time to concentrate and take in what people say. Active listening takes more effort, yet you can learn so much by doing this, and you show you care – all powerful motivators of trust.
15. Praise more than criticise
Studies has shown that you have to praise three times as much as you criticise to keep your team members happy and motivated at work. Do you praise enough?
The sixteenth way to build trust is to hold regularly weekly one-to-one meetings
Do this with your direct reports and have each manager in the team do the same. This is a great opportunity to practice many of the ways the build trust in a private forum. Use the time to help your team members improve what they are going as much as possible.
Support team members – the seventeenth suggestion to build team trust
Look out for and support team members that are struggling silently. Spotting issues or potential issues and proactively providing help to individuals is a great way to build trust with the individual and the wider team that will see or hear of you helping.
The eighteenth way to build trust on your team is to accept that failures happen
I am not suggesting that you put up with repeated failures – rather accept that being failure is part of learning and taking calculated risks. Treating failure as a learning opportunity will encourage team members to push the boat out a bit rather than always playing it safe. This approach should easily produce higher levels of results over time compared to simply criticising failure.
Protect your team – the nineteenth way to build trust on your team
Prioritise their workload so that the team can focus on the more important tasks and projects and realistically deliver. Keep their workload manageable and protect them from any unfair criticism from elsewhere in the business.
Lastly, the twentieth way to build trust is to pay your staff fairly
This relates to salary and additional benefits and bonuses. Keep an eye on market rates being paid for similar roles and reward performance not longevity in the role. Losing staff because of poor pay will affect team performance as finding new staff is costly in terms of time and cash.
So there you have twenty ways to build trust on your team. If you are the manager, then you set the rules and tone for your team through your actions. Take the time to build trust in your team and you will have a team that repays you many times over with a great working environment and great performance.