How to Build Trust to Promote Collaboration in Your Team
Updated: Dec 16, 2022
Trust is a small word with a big meaning.
A relationship without trust is like a car without gas. You can stay in the car as long as you want, but it won't get you anywhere.
A study from Salesforce conducted among 1400 executives, employees and educators indicates that 86% of them believe lack of collaboration is the top reason for the failures.
Trust is perhaps the most important ingredient in building a positive culture on your team. According to the Oxford dictionary, "Trust is a firm belief in a person's ability, truth, and reliability." When you say, "I trust you," it means you have full confidence in a person that they won't harm you.
In this blog, we'll give you tips and advice on the importance of trust in the workplace and how it helps teams work together effectively, especially in today's diverse workplace.
Once trust is lost, it can never be perfect again. So be very mindful when it comes to building trust in your team in a collaborative environment. Study shows 86% of workers believe lack of collaboration is the top reason for the failures.
Tips for building trust in teams
If you've ever had the opportunity to lead a group of people where trust has been lost, you can probably well imagine how stressful it can be.
A team without trust is nothing more than a bunch of people trying to work together (!), taking each other for a ride and making everything a problem, for example, arguing over little things and being unclear about responsibilities, tasks and deadlines.
A talented team without trust can never reach its full potential, quickly gets stuck, everyone blames the other and shows disappointing results.
Here are a few tips you can use to build trust in your team and improve collaboration.
Communicate your company's mission and vision
Research shows that poor communication often leads to the failure of even the most talented teams.
Effective and open communication usually leads to happy employees who always produce better results, and as a leader, you can't go wrong if you invest in improving communication within your team.
You can start by communicating your company's mission and vision.
When employees are looking in the same direction, they can achieve positive results. Keep your mission simple and meaningful so that it's easy for everyone to understand.
Employees perform better when they're working toward a single goal.
As a supervisor, it's your job to motivate your employees to show up for work for a fulfilling cause, not just for the paycheck.
Address problems early and openly
These days, people work in mixed and diverse cultures. Diversity in the workplace can sometimes lead to trust issues. As a leader, you need to address these issues from the beginning and communicate your concerns openly.
Open communication helps team members accept their mistakes and understand each other's perspectives.
First, you need to identify the problem to solve it. You can meet with your team members individually and ask their opinions. If you think this is not going to work, you can distribute an anonymous questionnaire asking about the level of trust between team members and what's causing the lack of trust.
If you uncover the root causes for the problems and resolve them early, you can create a trusting environment in which you can all work well.
Stand up for your team
The most important thing in building trust for teamwork is to stand up for your team members. As a leader, you need to give others credit for their hard work so they know their contributions are recognized and valued.
Also, don't blame them when things go wrong. As a leader, you need to create a blame-free environment with a positive attitude.
If someone tells you about a problem on the team, you should show him/her that you appreciate their candor and try to work with other team members to solve the problem.
Be an advocate.
If someone on your team has been working hard on a project or task and no one seems to notice or appreciate their efforts, talk about it! Let everyone know how much effort went into that project and explain why it was so important for that person to take on the task themselves.
Praise in public and criticize in private.
One of the best ways to build trust between employees is to praise them publicly when they do something well - but also tell them in private when they need to improve. Whenever possible, make sure the praise comes from someone else, not just yourself. It's much more meaningful when others see the great work someone has done.
Finally, as a good leader, you should be willing to take responsibility when something goes wrong - even if it's someone else's fault. Not only is this the right thing to do, it also strengthens trust between people because it shows that you are willing to take personal responsibility for your actions and decisions.
Create strong bonds on a personal level
According to the Harvard Business Review, strong bonds can be created through HR programs particularly with two which are training team members for collaborative behavior and support for informal community building.
You can organize events like sports, cookouts or women's days to get to know each other on a personal level to build the sense an informal community where team members get to know each other and form trusting relationships.
When people know each other personally, they can better understand their decisions.
At ABN Amro, for example, one of the teams had to roll out new online technology across the bank during the change management process. This informal team attributed its success to corporate support that facilitated the process.
The company supported travel to the various sites for meetings and provided software for open communication. Team members stay in touch after the task is completed, allowing them to build lasting and trusting relationships for future collaboration.
Lead by example
There's a reason why leaders are called leaders. It's because they lead by example.
As a team leader, you need to show your team members what trust looks like.
Be a living example to your team by trusting your colleagues, giving them challenging tasks, and then trusting them to complete them.
Allow them to fail, make mistakes, and try new ideas. You should often openly appreciate their innovative ideas and encourage their problem-solving approach to show them that you genuinely trust them.
Your team members look up to you and you should take this unique opportunity to show them what's expected of them.
Trust is crucial to any relationship between people or groups of people.
If there is no trust between two people, they won't collaborate effectively, even if they are working together on a project or task. They will feel that they are doing everything alone because they do not have the help or support of another in completing their tasks.
Leaders intentionally take time to build trust with their teams so that everyone on the team can work together effectively and everyone can successfully complete their tasks without wasting time worrying about whether someone else is completing their tasks on time and correctly
Keep your promises
Trusting your teams is even more important in today's hybrid work environment where all members are scattered across the country. When you're working with them virtually, all you have is trust.
In hybrid cultures, you only have your word because you can't often meet in person, and trust is based on the promises you keep.
Stick to your promises and be a role model for everyone else. If someone asks you to do something or expects a certain behavior from you, do it - even if it is inconvenient or difficult.
Show that you can be counted on and that you are willing to go above and beyond what is expected of you.
Be transparent about how projects are going. If something is taking longer than expected due to an unforeseen issue, let others know immediately so they do not have to wait anxiously for results that will never arrive on time.
Keep everyone in the loop so no one feels left out or feels like the work is not progressing if they can not see it for themselves.
Empower your team members
Employees begin to trust you when you empower them. As a leader, you need to involve your team members in decision making and show them that they're valued.
This can be difficult if you are used to being in control. But sharing power with staff does not mean giving up authority; it means sharing responsibility for decisions and results.
You can help your team members by empowering them to make decisions and solve problems at work. Here are some tips on how to empower your employees:
Share information openly
Give them the opportunity to develop and grow
Encourage feedback on how things are going
Learn from both mistakes and successes
According to Harvard Business Review, employees are more likely to complete a desired task in a timely manner if they know they're trusted to do the work.
Especially in virtual teams, trust team members until they prove otherwise.
Don't waste time micromanaging or dealing with little things like late emails.
If employees know they have a reputation to uphold, they'll automatically strive to live up to that expectation.
Micromanagement has more detrimental effects than positive ones.
According to Forbes magazine, criticizing employees and not trusting their performance often causes them to doubt their abilities and diminishes their self-confidence. If you do not allow your employees to do their best, they will resent you
Also, it's ridiculous if you try to do everything yourself without delegating work to others. Micromanagers are ineffective because they spend too much time worrying about others' tasks and too little time on their own.
Therefore, learn to trust your team members and stop being a micromanager.
Give them space to make decisions, contribute to the company with their skills and allow them to make innovative suggestions for your company.
Once trust is lost, it can never be perfect again.
So be very mindful when it comes to building trust in your team in a collaborative environment.
Trust can't be built overnight, it requires continuous effort, just like company culture.
As a leader, you need to lead by example, deliver on your promises, empower your team members and give them the recognition they deserve in order to build lasting relationships with your employees.