The Mind Tools Team gives us some strategies to creating strong, cohesive teams.
A team without trust isn’t really a team: it’s just a group of individuals, working together, often making disappointing progress. They may not share information, they might battle over rights and responsibilities, and they may 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.
However, when trust is in place, each individual in the team becomes stronger, because he or she is part of an effective, cohesive group. When people trust one another, the group can achieve truly meaningful goals.
As a leader, what can you do to create a culture of trust within your team?
- Lead by Example
If you want to build trust within your team, then lead by example, and show your people that you trust others. This means trusting your team, your colleagues, and your boss. Never forget that your team members are always watching and taking cues from you – take the opportunity to show them what trust in others really looks like.
- Communicate Openly
Open communication is essential for building trust. You need to get everyone on your team talking to one another in an honest, meaningful way.
- Know Each Other Personally
One way to build trust is to encourage your team members to see their colleagues as people. Think about creating situations that help them share personal stories, and bond.
- Don’t Place Blame
When people work together, honest mistakes and disappointments happen, and it’s easy to blame someone who causes these. However, when everyone starts pointing fingers, an unpleasant atmosphere can quickly develop. This lowers morale, undermines trust, and is ultimately unproductive.
- Discourage Cliques
Sometimes, cliques can form within a team, often between team members who share common interests or work tasks. However, these groups can – even inadvertently – make others feel isolated. They can also undermine trust between group members.
- Discuss Trust Issues
If you manage an established team that has trust issues, it’s essential to find out how these problems originate, so that you can come up with a strategy for overcoming them.