How to Build Trust with Your Team

Trust is a fragile thing.  We want our team to trust us, but trust cannot be developed overnight.  You can only build trust through a consistent relationship maintained over time.

In developing an environment of trust with your team, it is important to show yourself trustworthy.  And then to show your team that they can trust the others on the team too.

Here are three principles to remember as you build trust with your team.


1. You can’t trust someone you don’t know.


We all know from our experience that strangers don’t seem as trustworthy as our friends.  They might be.  But we can’t be sure.  Because we just don’t know them.  At least not yet.

If your team is just a collection of people who come to the same place for work day after day, then they are not a team.  And if they do not know each other, they will not trust each other.

Take the time to get to know your team.  Make the environment conducive for them to get to know each other too.  And make sure that your team knows you as well.


2. Do what you say you will do.


As your team gets to know you and the others on the team, the easiest way to build trust with others is to do what you say you will do.  The hardest way to build trust with others is also to do what you say you will do.

There will be mistrust and suspicion if you or others on your team do not meet expectations.  You can set the expectations, but you then must at the very least meet them.

You must consistently do what others expect of you.  If you do not follow up on your commitments, then they will think you have broken faith with them.  And it will be even harder to restore broken trust.


3. Admit your mistakes.


There may be times that you will fall down in your responsibilities.  You may fail your team in your commitments.  And that’s why you have to admit your mistakes.

Leaders who habitually try to hide their mistakes or shift the blame for what they did wrong will never be able to build trust with their team.  Because humility is a key ingredient for trustworthiness.

When you as a leader have messed up, it is crucial that you ‘fess up to your failings.  Because through that heartfelt apology, you can reconstruct the foundation of trust.

As you try to build trust on your team, remember to help everyone get to know you and each other.  Show them through your actions to follow through on commitments.  And also own up to mistakes when falling short.

If you consistently teach them these principles through your active leadership, then you will eventually be able to build trust on your team.


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