5 Ways to Build Team Trust


Trust is a key part of the workplace environment and any team you may be working on. Our level of trust can change at the drop of a hat, which often makes team trust a difficult thing to manage. Trust makes a huge difference on the efficiency and success of any team. If you can achieve a strong level of trust within your team, you will be able to create and sustain a highly productive team.

Whether you are a team leader or perhaps you are simply a team member who has noticed a lack in trust, there are several ways you can build a culture of trust for your team and thus succeed more together.

1. Have a common purpose and goal

As a team, having a common goal will help you work together to achieve it. If you don’t already have a common purpose or goal, start by creating or reviewing the team charter. Allow every team member to express commitment and help create milestones or awards. Use the common purpose to prioritize team actions and take advantage of the opportunity to clarify everyone’s role and responsibilities. You can then be aware of what everyone else does on the team which will help you figure out ways to help each other in the future.

2. Team-building activities foster trust

Team building activities are a great way to improve morale and boost enthusiasm on your team. These types of activities will help build a sense of cohesiveness and will teach team members to trust each other by forcing you to work together to meet the objective of the exercise. A good idea is to schedule these events throughout the year to build on the skills your team learns through the exercises. A few ideas of good activities are:

–  A survival activity where your team begins with a plane crash and has to figure out 12 items that can be carried in the lifeboat to shore to help you survive on a deserted island.

–  Human knot where everyone stands in a circle together. Each person grabs the hand of the person across from them and then grabs a different person’s hand from across the circle. Then try to untie the knot without anyone letting go of the hand they are holding. It’s a great way to work on communication!

3. Address issues directly

If you are not getting along with someone on the team or there is an issue, speak directly to the person instead of keeping your feelings bottled up or talking about them behind their back. This will help you build trust because you are showing them that you value your working relationship with them and you are willing to have a difficult conversation to solve the problem. If you don’t know how to have these conversations with the individuals on your team, your team will fall apart at the first sign of trouble. Trust issues within the team need to be discussed to find the root of the problem and come up with a strategy to overcome it.

4. Know each other personally

Encourage your team members to get to know each other personally so they can bond. If you need help getting started, ask about their families or their hobbies, or start by sharing something about yourself. Have a team lunch that doesn’t focus on work or plan a happy hour after work. By focusing on just getting to know each other and having a good time as a team, you won’t see each other only as work professionals. We are all a lot more than our jobs and it is our personal stories which connect us.

5. Be open, honest, and transparent

One of the most powerful tools to build trust is as easy as being open, honest, and transparent in all of your communications with your team. Team members can recognize when someone is being dishonest and openness will help you earn their trust and respect. Being open and honest is even more important during times of crisis—that is when you need to build the most confidence and empower your team members to stop worrying and start working to overcome the challenges together.