Last Updated on July 27, 2022 by Dave Schoenbeck
Lack of trust within a team can completely derail your business objectives. Unfortunately, we’ve seen this play out repeatedly in our workplaces and others. For example, Republicans and Democrats used to be cooperative partners in Congress, able to reach across the aisle on bipartisan legislation. But unfortunately, as their relationship continues to sour, they accomplish less and less as a team.
Building Trust in the Workplace
What causes distrust in the workplace? According to Forbes, there are three main directions in which trust must flow: your team needs to trust you, you need to trust them, and they need to be able to trust each other. Breakdowns in any of these three relationships can cause a lack of trust within a team.
Trust can be lost in concealing information, poor communication, micromanagement, and more. It can happen all at once or slowly over several years. On the other hand, building team cohesion in the workplace almost always takes time. Nevertheless, it’s still a worthwhile endeavor.
Here are some ways to build a culture of trust in your business:
- First, be transparent and honest about the little things and the big things. Keeping your team informed about company changes and project updates will make them more involved.
- Make expectations crystal clear. Let your team know exactly their objectives and the standards by which you’re measuring their performance.
- Do not tolerate toxic team members. Unfortunately, many managers fall into the trap of allowing problematic behavior to continue because they are afraid of confrontation or because the person does good work despite their attitude. Ignoring bad behavior always causes resentment and a lack of trust within a team.
- Discipline poor performers. Like the toxic coworker situation above, many managers will let poor performance drag on because they feel uncomfortable addressing it. However, you know you can’t trust a poor performer to get the job done, and their teammates will be forced to pick up the slack, eroding their trust in each other.
- Treat everyone equally. A frequent cause of lack of trust within a team is perceived favoritism. So even if you don’t play favorites, avoid even the appearance you do.
- Be a good listener. When your team members come to you with problems, listen to them and genuinely try to help them. Let them know you value their opinions and trust them to be honest with you about obstacles they’re facing.
- Don’t micromanage. You need to be able to trust your team to do their jobs. Even when it comes from a desire to help, micromanaging infantilizes your team members and kills morale.
- Play to your team’s strengths. Know what tasks each employee excels at and allow them to do so. Giving every employee a chance to shine will enable them to see themselves and each other as competent, valued team members.
If you’re dealing with serious mistrust issues among people you manage, an outside perspective from a business coach can help. Click here for a complimentary video coaching call to discuss addressing the lack of trust within a team.
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