How to create a climate of trust in your team

70% of employees leave organisations because of the relationship they have with their boss.  They cite the lack of trust as being the biggest issue between them.

So, how do you build trust?  We all talk about it, but it isn’t something that you can wave a magic wand and say ‘ let’s all trust each other!’.

There are 3 key steps to building trust and they are as follows:

1. Match your ‘Say with your Do’

Very simply, many of us do not do this!  For example, you may say to your friends and colleagues ‘ I work out 3 times a week in the gym’.  Look back at your diary over the last 2 months and check whether you achieved this every week.  Unless you are extremely dedicated, the chances are you missed a few sessions.  This shows that even with things that we are passionate about, we still don’t match our say with our do!

I remember a time when my boss said to me ‘ Let’s have a one to one meeting’ next week.  We put the date in the diary and a couple of hours before we were due to meet, he said ‘ sorry I have to cancel, I need to do something for the board’.  We rescheduled the meeting again for a few days later and guess what, he cancelled our meeting again!!

His behaviour led me to think ‘ I can’t trust him to have our meetings, because he doesn’t do what he says he is going to do’.

So, if you want to create trust within your team, match your say with your do, your team will love you for it and you build a reputation of reliability and trust.

2. Know your team on a personal level

We are social beings and having a level of ‘relatedness’ with your team is essential.  They want to feel that you are ‘human’ and they can connect to you on a personal level.

Try this exercise, ask yourself ‘Do I know five personal facts about each member of my team?’  If you are not a boss, can you do this as a colleague?

If you can’t, spend some time finding out about your colleagues hobbies, interests and family so that you can build personal connections.  Obviously this is a 2 way process, so be prepared to share some information about yourself.

So why do this?  Research shows that teams who feel connected to each other or to their Boss are twice as likely to help each other out and go the extra mile.

Having a relationship that is purely ‘work based’ does not encourage high levels of trust.  It is important for colleagues to feel they can share their lives with colleagues and their boss.  Let’s face it, we spend a lot of time at work so building close relationships at work are crucial for creating a climate of trust.

A good excuse to have a team outing so your team/colleagues can let their hair down!

3. Stop the office whispers!

In teams where there is a lack of trust, there tends to be gossip and whispering.  Colleagues who do not ‘feel’ the trust will begin to split off and form a clique.  As a result, a ‘them and us’ develops which does nothing for developing a high performing team.

Create a team climate where colleagues feel they can be honest and open with each other.

Agree some behaviours with the team they would like to:

  • Start
  • Stop
  • Continue

…to build trust and honesty.

Follow up on the behaviours and monitor the team climate.

In summary without trust, morale and productivity will be low. It doesn’t take a lot to put the above 3 steps in place, but the rewards you will reap will repay you tenfold!

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