As one of the six TIGERS principles for work team success, trust is an essential priority leaders must focus on to build a collaborative and productive team environment. Without trust, team members will not feel valued resulting in their disengagement, which leads to higher turnover rates and lower productivity for other employees. And not only will team members be affected, but leaders as well. Leaders who do not trust their employees often micromanage, which perpetuates continuing negativity. Trust is necessary on all levels in an organization. There are five workplace strategies that build trust among teams and leaders that improve success.
This article offers team building strategies for improving trust within the workplace. I references previous articles in the TIGERS Success Series, TIGERS Den Blog and the following articles:
- The Coming Leadership Revolution
- Team Building Activities That Improve Team Trust
- 7 Ways Leaders Can Improve Trust Within Their Organizations
- The Business Case for Trust
- It Takes Thoughtful Leadership to Truly Build a Trust Culture
When team building for trust, leaders should focus on all levels within the organization to ensure that trust is part of the workplace culture and not only present limited areas.
Create a culture of credibility. Credibility can simply be defined as doing what you say you are going to do. Credibility is the first step in creating trust. Even if trust is not currently present within the organization, leaders can take the first step toward building trust by keeping their word. This means that before any promises are made, leaders should carefully weigh all considerations and make thoughtful plans and statements for their employees. Then leaders need to follow through. If changes need to be made, leaders need to communicate with those involved why things have changed and what they will do to prevent this error in the future. By taking this first step, leaders pave the way for everyone within the organization to become credible as well.
Engage employees. According to Team Building Activities That Improve Team Trust, one side effect of minimized trust is sluggish engagement. In workplaces that lack trust, leaders may find that overall workplace morale is low, the employees suffer from low productivity, team members engage in incivility and turnover rates are higher. Some ways that leaders can address and combat these issues include implementing better training; increase communication between departments, leaders and team members; put into place policies against incivility; and focus on creating an employee centric work environment.
Become transparent. Transparent cultures have leaders who understand the importance of sharing information. The levels of transparency vary by organization, but all organizations should strive to become more transparent with all team members, leaders and customers. This does not mean that leaders must share all information with everyone. Yes, there will be cases in which sharing sensitive information will only hurt rather than help, but leaders should strive to become an open book. Explain to team members why changes are taking place; share financial information with customers; and take ownership of all of your mistakes. By becoming more transparent, team members and customers will begin to trust your organization. If this seems incredible, there is a good case study for it in the book, TIGERS Among Us: Winning Business Team Cultures and Why They Thrive (Three Creeks 2010)
Make trust a priority. According to The Business Case for Trust, trusted organizations perform better financially than their non-trustworthy counterparts. Customers want to buy from and work with trustworthy organizations, stakeholders want to invest and team members want to work with them. But trust will not happen on its own. Leaders need to focus on making trust a priority. When they do, their organizations benefit from lower turnover rates, happier employees and higher profits. One way that leaders can make trust a priority is learning how to through the 6 Principles That Build High Performance Teams Self-Study Leadership Training. This training program provides leaders with valuable insights on how the implementation of the six TIGERS principles builds cooperative teams, as well as how to identify strategies that will improve trust and collaboration among team members.
Remain thoughtful. A culture of trust will not just happen; everyone in the workplace needs to make it happen. There are five ways leaders can promote trust in the workplace: strategic direction, governance, alignment, ownership and psychological safety. Leaders need to clearly express the direction the organization is heading; create a set of operating agreements; outline charters for each team; promote ownership during times of change; and allow team members to express their concerns without fear or retribution.
Some may argue that trust is the number one element that must present for success, and if it is not the most important element, it is still an essential and valuable element. Trust within the workplace will not occur overnight, however, and leaders and team members must remain vigilant to keep it. Some team building strategies for building trust include: creating a culture of credibility, engaging employees, becoming transparent, making trust a priority and remaining thoughtful. With trust in place, leaders and team members are in a position to become more productive, effective and successful.
Copyright TIGERS Success Series, Inc. by Dianne Crampton
TIGERS is a Bend, Oregon Team Development and Work Culture Consultant that helps leaders build high performance teams and a work culture that experiences cooperation among employees and collaboration between departments. We do this by monitoring and developing positive team and leaderhsip behaviors anchored by trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success. TIGERS offers licensing in our team catalytic tools and facilitation, 360 Team Behavior Surveys, and workforce development consulting. Licensing is appropriate for HRD Executives, Project Managers and Educators.