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Top 10 Effective Ways to Build Trust Within Your Team

There is nothing wrong is saying that trust is the primary ingredient of any kind of relationship. The importance of trust can be understood by its definition only. Trust means to rely on someone else to do the right thing.

The position of a manager comes with a new office, new staff, new ideas, new personalities and new responsibilities. Someone once said, ‘Workers don’t quit their jobs, they quit their bosses.’ This statement is true to a great extent and it takes trust to keep the whole team together.

You might hear a number of people complaining about their bosses every single day. Trust is something that can’t come directly to you. You can’t make anyone trust you; it has to be earned. Managing a team of people who don’t trust each-other is the absolute nightmare for any manager.

Ways to Improve Team Cohesion

Top 10 Effective Ways to Build Trust Within Your Team

Have you ever managed people who didn’t trust one another? If you have, then you’ll know how challenging and draining this can be.

A team without trust isn’t really a team: it’s just a group of individuals, working together, often making disappointing progress. They may not share information, they might battle over rights and responsibilities, and they may not cooperate with one another. It doesn’t matter how capable or talented your people are, they may never reach their full potential if trust isn’t present.

However, when trust is in place, each individual in the team becomes stronger, because he or she is part of an effective, cohesive group. When people trust one another, the group can achieve truly meaningful goals.

So how can you, as a leader, help your team to build the trust that it needs to flourish? In this article we’ll look at the issue of trust within teams, why it’s important, and what you can do to build it.

The Importance of Trust

One definition describes trust as a “reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.”

Think about that definition for a moment. Trust means that you rely on someone else to do the right thing. You believe in the person’s integrity and strength, to the extent that you’re able to put yourself on the line, at some risk to yourself.

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Trust is essential to an effective team, because it provides a sense of safety. When your team members feel safe with each other, they feel comfortable to open up, take appropriate risks, and expose vulnerabilities.

Without trust there’s less innovation, collaboration, creative thinking, and productivity, and people spend their time protecting themselves and their interests – this is time that should be spent helping the group attain its goals.

Trust is also essential for knowledge sharing. A study published in the Journal of Knowledge Management found that trust was a key element in a team’s knowledge acquisition. Put simply, if your team members trust one another, they’re far more likely to share knowledge and to communicate openly.

How To Build Trust With Your Employees

As a leader, what can you do to create a culture of trust within your team?

Open Up

It is important to expose yourself to your team. Exposing doesn’t mean spilling your secrets to let them take advantage of you, but to make them feel that you are nothing different from the rest of your team. You should have the guts to admit your failures and demonstrate your thoughts without any hindrance.

Create The Circle Of Safety

The whole motive of building trust within the team is to keep the information safe in order to get desired results in the end. Treat your people like ‘human beings’ and give them a sense of security, belonging, an ultimate purpose and proper care. The first step to trust is care; the team needs to feel cared to trust you.

TRUST ## Listen Before Speaking

Always listen to the views of others with a motive to understand rather than just to reply. You should be of understanding nature at first place, if you want the team to understand you. Be a calm listener and consider other’s ideas before making the final decision. Moreover, always do what you promised otherwise they won’t be able to trust you to lead.

TRUST ## Lead The Team By Example

In most of the offices, the team members are always keeping an eye of your actions and taking cues from you. If you want your team to arrive on time, make sure to be in office on time first. Leading by example simply means that you have a good character and workers are often more inclined to trust a manager with good character record.

If you want to build trust within your team, then lead by example, and show your people that you trust others. This means trusting your team, your colleagues, and your boss. Never forget that your team members are always watching and taking cues from you – take the opportunity to show them what trust in others really looks like.

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If you manage a virtual team, aim to treat your team members just as you would if you were working face to face. This means making every effort to be on time for conference calls or video chats and letting your remote team members know when you’ll be absent or on vacation. 

It’s important to follow through on the promises you make and to set an example for everyone else. Keeping your promises is incredibly important in a virtual team because your word is often all you can give. Positive follow-through builds trust quickly and can raise the entire group’s tone and expectations.

TRUST ## Communicate Openly

Open communication is essential for building trust. You need to get everyone on your team talking to one another in an honest, meaningful way, and you can use several strategies to accomplish this.

First, create a team charter to define the purpose of the team, as well as each person’s role. Present this charter at the first team meeting, and encourage each team member to ask questions, and discuss his or her expectations.

Next, consider organizing team-building exercises. When chosen carefully and planned well, these exercises can help “break the ice” and encourage people to open up and start communicating.


It’s useful to help your people understand that other people’s approaches and insights can be as valid as their own. This is where psychometric instruments such as Myers-Briggs Personality Testing and the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile can help people understand and appreciate those that they work with, even when these people have quite different approaches.

Meet regularly, so that all team members have a chance to talk about their progress, and discuss any problems that they’re experiencing. This is an important part of getting to know each other. It also creates opportunities for team members to talk, and to help one another solve problems.

TRUST ## Know Each Other Personally

One way to build trust is to encourage your team members to see their colleagues as people. Think about creating situations that help them to share personal stories, and to bond.

Do this by asking sensitively about their family, or about their hobbies. Start by sharing some personal information about yourself, and then ask someone else about a hobby, or a musical interest.

Another way to get the team acquainted, and to form stronger bonds, is to socialize after work  or at lunch.

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For example, you could set aside time each week for informal group discussions. Consider asking team members to put forward suggestions on topics you could all cover. To start with, you could start a discussion around values . Share some of your own values, and encourage others to share theirs. Values are important to most people, and starting a conversation that allows people to share them highlights your team’s humanity.

If your team works remotely, schedule an online “meet and greet” if it’s a new team, to help everyone get to know one another as individuals. Ask everyone to write a paragraph or two in their online profiles about their expertise and skills, their personal history, and their interests, and use chat or instant-messaging applications to keep the channels of communication open.

TRUST ## Give Trust to Get Trust

Most people will move mountains to repay this simple but powerful gesture of respect. Regularly give away your authority. If you run a regular operations meeting, rotate the responsibility to develop the agenda and lead the meeting. As often as possible, delegate decision-making to individuals or teams. Any action to show trust by allowing others to decide and act will strengthen their trust in you.

Let Team Members Shine

Redouble your efforts to understand and support the career aspirations of your team members. Nothing says “I care” more than investing time and effort in helping someone achieve a goal. Caring begets trust.

Shine the spotlight brightly on everyone else. No one trusts the manager who constantly elbows their way to the center of the spotlight for the team’s accomplishments. Step back into the shadows and your team members will repay you many times over.

Practice teamwork

Team-building exercises are the best way to see how individual members will work together to accomplish a goal. Before your team has to work on important tasks, see how they handle something simple like an ice breaker. Who took the lead? Who worked well together? Use what you observe and apply it to the real mission. Plus, your team members will bond with each other in the process.

Building a cohesive team is a never-ending process. With every new project comes different challenges. It is important to consistently make sure your team is working well together and reaching results effectively.

Trust is built over time and based on many exposures. You have a thousand opportunities every single day to engender or endanger trust. Work hard to win each one of these small but important moments.

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