(Part 2 of 3)
By Shirleen Von Hoffmann Sales Coach and National Director of the Builder Group
A team without trust isn’t really a team and it’s not fun to be around. It’s just a group of individuals, working together, often making disappointing progress. They may not get along, battle over responsibilities, and not cooperate with one another. It doesn’t matter how capable or talented your people are, they may never reach their full potential if trust isn’t present within the team. We want more than that. When trust is in place, each individual in the team becomes stronger, because he or she is part of an effective, cohesive group. “We’ve got your back” mentality is the only way to go!
So how can you, as a leader, help your team build the trust that it needs to flourish?
Strategies for Building Trust
Lead by Example
If you want to build trust within your team, then lead by example. This means trusting your team and being a person who is trustworthy. Never forget Trust rolls down hill and they are taking cues from you.
If you are transparent with your communication your team will observe and tend to be that way. You need to give them permission to be safe in a transparent working environment. Many will feel unsafe speaking their mind at first but if it is honored as a safe policy and way of doing business, they will feel safe, heard and a more important part of the team.
Team Therapy- Great Meetings!
Have great meetings, it’s important to a team: Encourage your team and Leads to be very active and take a role in this very important step to team building.
- The first meeting defines the purpose of the team, the mission, as well as each person’s role
- Have many organizing team building exercises
- Have games that break the ice and get everyone in-volved!
- Include virtual partners to join the meeting via Blue Jeans
- Encourage Fun with dress up days and celebration of wins at meetings
- Have monthly competitions with prizes
- Praise teams as a unit rather than individuals and do it publicly.
This time spent face-to-face is an important part of getting to know each other. It also creates opportunities for team members to talk, and to help one another solve problems. Make sure that you “walk the talk” here: whenever you have important or relevant information to share, do so immediately. The more you share with your team members, and thereby prove that you have no hidden agenda, the more comfortable they’ll feel trusting you and each other.
Know Each Other Personally
One way to build trust is to encourage your team members to see their colleagues as people. This is super important with off-site colleagues. Think about creating situations that help them share personal stories, and bond on blue jeans so the team can get to know them personally. Ask about their families or interests, it doesn’t have to be long and drawn out but it has to be real.
Don’t Place Blame
Instead, encourage everyone in your group to think about the mistake in a constructive way. What can you all do to fix what happened, and move forward together? And how can you make sure that this mistake doesn’t happen again?
Building Trust Virtually
So, how can you build trust between people who are hundreds of miles apart?
Schedule a virtual “meet and greet” if it’s a new team, to help everyone get to know one another as individuals. Then continue weekly online face to face meetings to help establish relationships.
Next, make sure that everyone on the team is aware of other team members’ expertise and skills, as well as the value that each individual contributes to the group. Encourage your team members to treat each other just as they would if they were working face to face.
Keeping your promises is incredibly important in a virtual team, because your word is often all you can give. Positive follow-through builds trust quickly, and can raise the entire group’s tone and expectations.
- Trust is an essential element in team productivity. Without it, you’re unlikely to get anything meaningful done.
- Make sure you practice and encourage transparent communication
- As a leader, it’s important that you set an example. Show your team members how critical trust is to you by demonstrating your trust in them, as well as in your colleagues.
- Next, make an effort to help everyone get to know each other on a personal level especially those off site. Encourage meetings on camera, online and conversations on values, family, or hobbies.
- Don’t play the blame game encourage effective solution minded processes.
- Nothing builds trust faster than personal relationships, feeling honored and feeling safe to trust.