How to Build More Trust With Your Team
If your team doesn’t think you trust them, there’s no way they’ll trust you.
And of course, when results are lagging or stakes are high, it’s natural if your first inclination is to be just a little skeptical. After all, there’s a lot at stake.
And yet, time and time again, we see that the teams with the biggest turnarounds have one thing in common—their leader believes in the team’s ability to accomplish the extraordinary,
Trust Builders: 5 Ways To Convince Your Team You Trust Them
- Set audacious goals.
- Believe in them.
- Invite them to come along.
- Admit what you don’t know.
- Encourage them to meet without you.
1. Set audacious goals.
Show trust by believing it’s possible.
2. Believe in them.
We watched Sam, a manager in a small nonprofit handle this masterfully with his direct report, Laura. The organization worked to ensure water quality in mountain streams.
Laura, a free spirit who cared passionately about her people and clean water, managed a team of paid engineers and volunteer inspectors. She worked hard but her team wasn’t satisfied with her performance.
They wanted to see her in the field more; she didn’t know how she could make them happy, and she didn’t feel she was making a big enough impact in a cause she cared deeply about.
Laura came into Sam’s office, slumped down in a folding chair, and declared, “I’m done.” She said she would turn in her resignation, that she’d lost faith in her ability to be effective.
Sam was devastated. She was one of his rock stars. How had he missed conveying that to her? Sam did not accept her resignation.
“You may have lost your belief in yourself, but you have a problem,” he said. “I do? What’s that?” “I still believe in you. You can quit on yourself, but don’t expect me to quit on you.”
Of course, that conversation was only the start. It eventually led to Laura’s taking a more balanced view of her accomplishments and gaining the confidence she needed to continue her vital work.
Show trust by believing in their capabilities.
3. Invite them to come along.
Early in her career, one of Karin’s first bosses, Gail, brought Karin with her to senior-level meetings, arguing that “no one could explain it better” than she could.
Of course, that wasn’t true; Gail was a seriously gifted explainer.
She trusted Karin would do okay and was secure enough to give up the spotlight. We are amazed at how many bosses are afraid to give such opportunities to their team.
Show trust by sharing the stage.
4. Admit what you don’t know.
Show your team you trust them by admitting you don’t have all the answers. Trust them with your concerns. You’ll be surprised how your people rise to the occasion when you trust them with your questions.
Show trust by being real.
5. Encourage them to meet without you.
A great way to show trust in your team is to give them a big hairy problem and ask them to meet to figure it out. Be sure to define what success looks like. Get any information, criteria, and parameters they may need out of your head and into theirs first—otherwise, they’ll spin their wheels.