5 Tips for Building Trust in Your Team — Desperado Diaries

5 Tips for Building Trust in Your Team

I have spent years thinking that transparent communication is at the core of building trust at the workplace.

Still, this process starts with accepting your vulnerability. Makes no sense? If you have five minutes to spare, give it a go.

I Embrace vulnerability and risk-taking

If you’ve already tried to define trust or googled it, you would have found it quite challenging to express in one sentence. Given that trust is often implied and socially accepted, we tend to take it for granted.

We have a hard time trusting our coworkers and managers in the workplace, but we don’t admit it. We use the implication of trust, but don’t honestly invest in it.

If you place your trust in someone and they fail you, you will end up hurt. Therefore, accepting that you are vulnerable is a must.

Are you willing to take the risk of trusting another person? I see no other option other than navigating a certain level of vulnerability in the workplace if you aim to build trust within your team.

II Micromanaging is a denial of trust

Are you afraid of losing control? Are you able to lean on your coworker and be comfortable with giving them space to act?

If you try to micromanage, the trust you’ve built so far with your team will erode.

Being confident that your coworkers will deliver results regardless of your presence and control, constitutes a sound basis for continuous trust building work.

No one can learn unless they make mistakes. As a team lead, you decide if a faulty situation will cost a lot. Let it slip and take notes later on with your colleagues if you can afford it.

III Reveal your inner thoughts and feelings

This was one of my most extensive learning experiences in the past five years. Being very rational and always in control of my feelings, I have taken the wrong path of never revealing them. I used to think that there was no place for emotions at work but luckily I realised you need to open up a bit for others to do the same thing.

If you aim to build trust in your workplace, then everyone should be able to share how they feel based on their inner thoughts and interpretations of certain situations happening at work.

As a manager, you should hear them out and try to understand them from their perspective. Each time you process with them, you will grow both as a person and manager.

Even if you find yourself in a challenging situation, where your role is only to listen and learn about your colleagues, they will appreciate your effort and you simply being there.

IV Cultivate rich and meaningful communication

Transparent communication is commonplace today! We should be pretty confident that we are all working in a dynamic environment, where companies communicate transparently. Yes, there is a pinch of sarcasm there. 

Try clear and meaningful communication instead of aiming for transparency when building relationships and trust at work.

As a leader, choose the information you think will benefit your coworkers. There is no hidden agenda here, just a well thought out dissemination of valuable information. 

I know that this might sound like picking and choosing appropriate sets of information. Therefore, it can seem manipulative, but as a manager, you need to feel the pulse of your team’s maturity to process  challenging information. You will be able to check that pulse only by doing it iteratively and monitoring their reactions to certain portions of information. 

When it comes to internal communication, where you are not the sole owner of important information, depth and meaning are the attributes that should describe the way others communicate. That will assure your team will stay out of severe conflicts, and even if they occur, they will be able to talk through them and continue building trust. 

V Encourage asking for help

Speaking freely and openly about one’s capabilities, while emphasising the strengths and weaknesses of the team will encourage your coworkers to ask for help.

Regardless of how competitive your work environment may be, you can be the initiator of your team’s sentiment and how they think and feel about their competencies.

When your coworker faces a problem that is not so easy to solve, they should be encouraged to ask for help within the team. If this is not an option, due to team dynamics or general sentiment, then there is work to be done.

Building trust in your team and setting up good foundations of trust with your manager can be a painful process with many ups and downs. Like in any other growth process, your mindset is the deciding factor. Lastly, it is up to you to decide if your work environment is safe enough for you to open up and be able to rely on your team, manager and existing processes.

Jovana Tomić Comms Manager