Trust is a critical component in the functioning of a team, and as a leader, it is your job to ensure that your team members trust each other because your success depends on it.
A concise definition provided by Merriam-Webster dictionary states trust as, “an assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something”. Within teams, members need to develop a sense of safety so that each person may have an opportunity to take some risk, knowing that the team will support them. A team with no trust between the members is just a group of capable and talented individuals, who may never be able to reach their full potential at the workplace. When that happens, you fail as a leader.
So what can leaders do to ensure that the team members trust each other? Let’s take a look at some ideas and how they are important to your success.
Things leaders can do to build trust
Building trust between colleagues is not an impossible task. As a leader, you need to focus on certain factors that may help you to build trust among team members.
Lead by example
As a leader, your team members are always watching you closely. So show them what it takes to build trust with their colleagues by trusting others. Let them know that you trust your team, colleagues and boss and always follow your own advice.
Everyone on the team must talk openly to each other honestly and meaningfully. To encourage this, leaders need to follow certain strategies from the beginning, like defining the team’s purpose, each member’s role, regular team building exercises, and ensuring regular meetings take place where each member gets an opportunity to talk without any inhibitions.
Get to know them
Learn to socialize after work and share some personal stories about family, hobbies, interests and skills. This would ensure a stronger bond between colleagues as they begin to see each other as ‘people’. Once people get to know each other better, they will form a shared value system that will be highly beneficial for the team.
Mistakes happen, but blaming team members isn’t going to help anyone. It will lower the team’s morale and ultimately affect productivity. Instead, encourage people to think constructively and find out what they can learn from their mistakes. When you do that, the entire team will find ways to ensure that the same mistake is never repeated again.
There are times when people with common interests form a smaller group, inadvertently causing others to feel left out. Such behavior can have seriously impact and create trust issues in a team. To deal with it, communicate freely with the members to find out how they feel about such groups and encourage inclusiveness by asking them to share their interests with other team members.
Trust is a positive emotion that follows positive behavior. When you follow through on your promises as a leader, you will easily be able to encourage your team to do the same. When team members see positive results from other members, they will be able to build and strengthen their trust with each other. This can set the tone and expectations of the entire team, and reflect on your leadership abilities and help you build a successful career.