Confident Leader

How to create trust in your team

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What can you do to create trust in your team and give them the environment they need that promotes trust across the board? Ideally, people would speak up, give their points of view, and build a better project together, but that level of trust doesn’t happen very often. Here are some tips that will help you create a safer work environment that promotes trust.

1. Transparency

Be transparent: share the happy moments when the company does well, as well as the difficult times. Only by sharing all of the moments can your team members become engaged and fully understand what is going on in the company and in their team.

How?

During team meetings, talk openly about the difficulties your business is confronting or the problems that need to be fixed in your team.

Make sure that every meeting has a moment when team members can express what they think about the topic that has been discussed.

On a monthly basis, create a moment in a meeting when team members can openly talk about improvements that need to be made.

Be aware of body language signs that signal disagreement or confusion. Openly defy those signs in an assertive way (without aggression) and talk to the person who appears confused or is in disagreement. Do it during the meeting or immediately afterwards.

2. Honesty

Make an effort to be open and honest in all situations. Little by little, promote conversations where people feel comfortable expressing opposed points of view and embrace their opinions while avoiding a blaming culture.

How?

When somebody in the team is talking, do not interrupt him/her. If there is a person in your team who always talks and talks, set clear turns and assign certain time limits for each person participating. Only then can you interrupt that person. Use a stop watch if necessary.

Be aware of your body language and tone of voice and correct them if you feel you are becoming aggressive. Calm down, connect with yourself, and continue your speech.

Instead of making people feel guilty about their mistakes, guide them into performing better.

3. We trust who we know

If you create a welcoming and open environment where people spontaneously create bonds and find synergies, your team will be invincible during stressful times because each person will know that they can trust each other.

How?

Self-assessment tools help us know the skills, strengths, and personal characteristics of our colleagues. Do not keep the results to yourself; share them with the rest of the team so people know each other better.

Facilitate team activities that promote bonding and improve the level of knowledge between people who are working together all day.

4. Security

In order to trust others, we need to feel secure. We need to know what our roles are, the expectations that others have of us, and be sure that we will not be penalized for speaking up.

How?

Set clear expectations for each team member so each person knows where he/she stands. When we don’t know what is expected of us, we can easily feel threatened and that might end up having a negative effect on our motivation and productivity.

During meetings, provide information about how the team is doing in relation to their objectives and the company’s goals for that year; this will show an alignment that carries security.

Be as transparent as you can about downsizing or promotion opportunities that are coming. If you want to be a trusted leader, the team needs to hear this news from you, not others.

5. No politics

Politics and gossip demotivate people and can provoke rumbling within teams. If you want to create a safe environment where people can express themselves, you will need to cut out politics.

How?

First, ask yourself if you are promoting these toxic dynamics. Are you creating rewards that promote individualism instead of team building?

Avoid politics by setting clear objectives and measurable performance indicators that don’t depend on somebody’s point of view.

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Did you already try some of these strategies? Tell us about your experience!

About Anna Danés

Anna Danés worked with many Internet startups in Europe, Asia and the Unites States, before founding Ricaris, a prosperous internet services organization. With her experience of managing distributed staff, as well as her beliefs that organizations are responsible for creating a better work environment and a better world, she has created Managing Virtual Teams, offering courses, training and consulting service for companies dealing with remote teams.

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