Did you ever have to manage people who just can’t seem to put their trust on one another? If yes, then you have an idea of how draining and difficult it is to build trust among your team members. And while there isn’t any way you could do this easier, you really have to try to achieve this goal.

An organization or a team whose members don’t trust one another isn’t a real team, but just a bunch of individuals who are left with no choice but to work together. Most often, they make very little progress because they do not share information, they have conflicts regarding responsibilities, and they simply cannot cooperate or work harmoniously with one another. What’s even more frustrating is that no matter how talented each individual is, nothing can be achieved because they tend to be selfish and unwilling to work as a team. On the other hand, a team whose members place trust in one another is a much stronger, more productive and effective one. There really isn’t anything that team with trust cannot achieve.

Now, as a leader, the real challenge for you is how you are going to make your team develop the trust that’s necessary for the unit and the individuals to grow and succeed? Our goal in this article is to discuss the importance of trust and how teams can build trust within them.

How Important Is Trust?

Trust can be described as a person’s reliance on their or someone else’s ability, character, strength, or the mere truth of something or someone. This means that by trusting another person, you are relying on him or her ability to do what’s right. You believe that this person has what it takes to accomplish something for you or your organization.

To make a team effective in its operations, trust should be present because it gives its members a sense of security and safety. With trust, the members of your team will not doubt their safety in their group, thus, them become more comfortable taking risks, opening up, and exposing their weaknesses to one another.

Where trust isn’t present, there can’t be motivation, collaboration, productivity, and creativity. What team members are likely to do is spend their time achieving their own individual goals and protecting only themselves. As a result, no team objective is achieved.

What Leaders Can Do to Build a Culture of Trust within a Team

By Leading by Example

As a leader, you would want your team to develop a sense of trust within them, but this will not happen unless you show your members that you trust other people, too. It is vital that your team members see that you trust your boss, your colleagues, and even your team members. Always keep in mind that your subordinates always have their eyes on you and are merely following your behavior. Thus, you have to show them what it’s like to trust others.

By Communicating Openly

Trust can be built by practicing open communication. It is essential that your team members communicate or talk to one another in a meaningful and honest way. You can do this by first making them understand the purpose or the goals of the team, as well as the roles that each of them plays. Once you have identified and explained to them their roles, you should encourage them to voice out their concerns, ask questions, and talk about their expectations.

Holding team building events is another strategy used to develop team camaraderie and cooperation. Team building exercises definitely break the ice and urge people to communicate openly with one another. By having regular meetings, also, all the members of your team get the chance discuss with one another any problems they are having and whatever progress they are hoping to achieve. By spending time talking to each other, they also get to know their coworkers better and on a more personal level.

By Not Pointing Fingers

In any organization or team setting, disappointments and mistakes happen. As a matter of fact, it becomes too easy to blame whoever is thought to have caused them. This should be avoided, though, because when blaming begins, the atmosphere in the workplace becomes very unpleasant. The result of this is lowered morale, diminishing trust, and finally lack of productivity.

Instead of placing blame on someone, encourage your team to think about what the group can learn from the mistake committed. Everyone must think of how the problem can be fixed and how the group can move forward as a unit.

By Discouraging Cliques

It is almost inevitable for some team members whose interests are the same to form cliques or smaller groups. While there is nothing wrong with making friends, these smaller groups can easily cause other team members to feel isolated. What you should do is talk to your team about this and make them understand what negative effects the formation of cliques can have on the entire organization. By explaining this to your members, you can effectively discourage this from happening in your team.

By Openly Talking about Trust Issues

If you notice that some of your people have trust issues, it is your job to find out where such issues come from so that you may plan how you could overcome them altogether. One way to do this is by giving out questionnaires for your team to fill out. Encourage them to express how they feel about the trust level in their group. Ask them also why they think such issues arise in their group. Just make sure that you keep the anonymity of the responders to your survey. Otherwise, you will discourage them to voice out their opinions.

Trust and Productivity

Trust within a team or an organization is a vital element that leads to productivity. Without trust, a group is not likely to achieve anything meaningful. But when trust is established, all the goals set by the team can be accomplished, without a doubt. As a leader, you should realize the importance of you setting a good example to your subordinates. Show them that you trust them so that they may follow your lead. Trust within the team is a building block of a harmonious atmosphere where nobody is likely to think of changing jobs and leaving the organization.

Author's Bio: 

Cecile Peterkin is a certified career and retirement coach, and a registered member of the Career Professionals of Canada and the International Coach Federation. She is also the Founder and Senior Career Strategist at Cosmic Coaching Centre, provider of career and life management services for middle managers and mid-career professionals across Canada, United States and Europe.