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Ten Ways to Build Trust with Your Team

Trust is a key measure of the quality of our relationships. It's the lubricant that makes agility possible on High Performing Teams. Without trust people disengage. People start questioning each other's motives. Decision making slows down. Results suffer.

When trust is high, the team is quick to share information, take ownership of problems, and focus on solutions. That's why building trust is a crucial competency of leadership.

However, trust doesn't happen by accident. It is built over time through our interactions with others. Small actions, repeated over time, steadily and inevitably erode or build trust. The challenge then is learning to recognize how our own behavior impacts trust, and then acting to do something about it.

The problem I see most often is leaders have the wrong measure of success when it comes to trust. Highly effective leaders set the bar high and strive to make every relationship a high-trust relationship. That means whenever there is a gap in trust, great leaders take 100% Responsibility for closing the gap. They don't blame the other person or wait for the other person to make the first move. They own it and take action.

How are you doing when it comes to building high-trust relationships?

Start by taking an inventory of your key relationships. What relationships in your life cannot be described as being high-trust? (both personal and professional). For those relationships that need work, what will you do about it? Wherever you are on your answers above, here are ten ways you can build trust with your team:

  1. Listen more

  2. Admit when you're wrong

  3. Learn to say, “I’m sorry”

  4. Extend trust to someone else

  5. Be more open in your communications

  6. Talk straight and give honest feedback

  7. Stop making fuzzy commitments

  8. Honor your commitments, no matter how small

  9. Resolve conflict quickly and directly

  10. Be a person of integrity

This list is not exhaustive, but every behavior on this list has a direct impact on trust. When practiced consistently, each builds trust. When absent, each erodes trust. If you want to build high performing teams, work on building trust by practicing these behaviors consistently.


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