6 Tips for Building Trust Within Your Team
An environment where workers don’t trust each other creates situations where professionals can’t excel, and the business doesn’t reach its potential. These workers may compete against their team members rather than working toward mutual success on projects.
This type of thinking makes it harder for people to collaborate or communicate and engage in teamwork. Their work ethic and effort may suffer to the detriment of everyone involved. And since these professionals don’t have a strong connection to their organization and team, loyalty also diminishes—possibly leading to retention issues.
In this article, we’ll explore some strategies you can use to build trust and improve results within your team.
How trust can fuel your team’s success
Building a company culture of trust can:
- Improve team collaboration. When team members know they don’t have to compete against each other and trust that everyone is working toward the same goals, it enhances collaboration. Employee engagement improves as people begin to work together.
- Achieve better worker retention. A work environment where workers constantly worry about competing with colleagues, office politics, or gossip increases stress for everyone. In fact, research shows that professionals who feel high levels of trust at their organizations report 74% less stress, which subsequently reduces burnout and increases retention.
- Result in better team alignment. Team members that trust each other will also align themselves toward a common company goal. Rather than everyone working in isolation, they’ll be more likely to collaborate.
- Improve decision-making. In an environment centered around trust, people feel more open to contribute to discussions and can bring up different viewpoints and ideas. This ensures that decisions are made with a complete set of information, and team members feel they have a stake in the outcome.
- Give productivity and innovation a boost. When team members don’t have to worry if others will meet deadlines or deliverables, work gets completed more efficiently. Team members also feel more open to sharing their ideas, paving the way toward exciting innovation.
6 tips for building trust within your workforce
It’s essential to build trust in your workforce to ensure continued success. However, it can be hard work to encourage trust among team members.
Here are list six steps that will help build trust among employees so you can begin reaping organizational benefits.
1. Hold yourself accountable
Team members take guidance from their leader. Leaders who demonstrate consistency by holding themselves to the same standards as everyone else and have the expertise and insight to guide projects can play a critical role in the trust others feel toward them.
Focus on setting a good example for the team in all activities. If you have insight or productive feedback to give, offer it. If you make mistakes, admit them to the team and take steps to correct the problem upfront and honestly.
2. Advocate for your team
Your team wants to know they can count on you to advocate for them as their leader. If the team experiences success, share the credit so that the team knows you recognize their contributions and great work. If mistakes are made, don’t try to share or cast blame. Instead, have a “fix it” attitude that inspires team members to look for solutions instead of covering their tracks.
Similarly, if someone comes to you with a problem or bad news, don’t get angry with the messenger. Let them know that you appreciate the insight so that the group can collectively find a solution. This will encourage lines of communication to stay open.
3. Address problems openly and early
If problems arise during a project, make an effort to address the issue openly and early. Hiding problems only allows them to fester, and attempting to hide issues can hinder success and encourage others to hide issues or mistakes, as well.
For example, there may be tension among team members, causing a lack of communication that bottlenecks a project. Consider meeting with team members to figure out how to solve their issues. Maybe there’s confusion regarding responsibilities and clarification from you can get the project back on track.
Addressing problems openly and early makes it clear that your primary focus is on team success. This strategy allows workers to find solutions rather than wasting time casting blame.
4. Encourage open communication and feedback
You want team members to know their opinions are valued and that you want to hear what they have to say. The more you encourage open communication and feedback, the more your team will feel free to share.
A great way to put this into practice is to establish one-on-one meetings. Ask team members how they feel about the team or organization as a whole. Do they feel heard and respected? Are their ideas taken into consideration? Do they feel comfortable sharing their feedback with you and other leaders? If necessary, ask for suggestions on how things can improve and then create a concrete plan for implementing those suggestions.
This builds trust in the workplace because people begin to understand that you and the team as whole value their ideas. These professionals will feel part of a team, rather than individuals with their own goals.
At the same time, you need to be open and communicative, as well. Communicate company priorities, be honest about why certain decisions are made, share bad news in a tactful way, and keep everyone in the loop about shifting responsibilities.
5. Make time for bonding
Provide opportunities for team members to come together and bond. Cultivating relationships helps team members understand each other and improve their communication.
Bonding can take many forms. For example, remote teams can host occasional coffee breaks through video conferencing or dedicate time through chat software to discuss their personal lives. Even small check-ins can help nurture goodwill in the company.
6. Empower workers
Building a relationship of trust also calls for empowering workers. Give them the tools and opportunity to do their work independently without constant oversight. Show them the trust you have in them by granting them authority to make certain decisions independently. When team members know they’re trusted to do their work well by management, they become more engaged and ready to perform.
With distributed teams, in particular, you need to trust that remote and independent workers are doing what they’re assigned unless they’ve given you a reason to doubt them. Don’t micromanage them or focus on how long it takes them to respond to your emails. Give them a chance to prove themselves before stepping in.
Transform your team with trustworthy talent
Knowing how to build trust within your team can encourage productivity and help your team accomplish its goals. A team where members trust each other will collaborate better and do a better job of aligning their objectives with the rest of the organization. Following the steps above can help you build a team based on trust and position your organization to grow.
As you begin to build your team and incorporate the talent you need to accomplish your projects, you’ll want to find professionals who are skilled, cooperative, and consistent enough to function as trusted members of broader teams. On Upwork, you can tap into a global workforce, review portfolios of past work, and read reviews to find independent workers who will best fit your team.