Building Trust Inside Your Team

Creating a Strong, Cohesive Group
you may be deceived if you trust too much, but you will live in torment if you
don't trust enough. – Frank Crane, American minister and author

Have you ever managed people who didn't trust one another? If you have, then you'll know
how challenging and draining this can be.
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
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.
So how can you, as a leader, help your team build the trust that it needs to flourish? In this article
we'll look at the issue of trust within teams, why it's important, and what you can do to build it.
The Importance of Trust

Describes trust as a "reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something."
Think about that definition for a moment. Trust means that you rely on someone else to do
the right thing. You believe in the person's integrity and strength, to the extent that you're able
to put yourself on the line, at some risk to yourself.
Trust is essential to an effective team, because it provides a sense of safety. When your team
members feel safe with each other, they feel comfortable to open up, take appropriate risks,
and expose vulnerabilities.
Without trust there's less innovation, collaboration, creative thinking, and productivity, and
people spend their time protecting themselves and their interests – this is time that should be
spent helping the group attain its goals.
Trust is also essential for knowledge sharing. A study published in the "Journal of Knowledge
Management" found that trust was a key element in a team's knowledge acquisition. Put simply, if your
team members trust one another, they're far more likely to share knowledge, and communicate openly.
Strategies for Building Trust

As a leader, what can you do to create a culture of trust within your team?

even when these people have quite different approaches. you could set aside time each week for informal group discussions. You need to get everyone on your team talking to one another in an honest. meaningful way. Meet regularly. and encourage . For example. This means trusting your team. and discuss any problems that they're experiencing. and show your people that you trust others. Present this charter at the first team meeting. Know Each Other Personally One way to build trust is to encourage your team members to see their colleagues as people. It also creates opportunities for team members to talk. First. This is where psychometric instruments such as Myers-Briggs Personality Testing and the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile can help people understand and appreciate those that they work with. This time spent face-to-face is an important part of getting to know each other. 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. The more you share with your team members. When chosen carefully and planned well. Think about creating situations that help them share personal stories. and to form stronger bonds. do so immediately. so that all team members have a chance to talk about their progress. and to help one another solve problems. 3. these exercises can help "break the ice" and encourage people to open up and start communicating. Note: It's useful to help your people understand that other people's approaches and insights can be as valid as their own. and discuss his or her expectations. and encourage each team member to ask questions. the more comfortable they'll feel trusting you and each other. Consider asking team members to put forward suggestions on topics you could all cover. 2. and your boss. Start by sharing some personal information about yourself. Next. To start with. is to socialize after work or at lunch. or a musical interest. and you can use several strategies to accomplish this. and bond. Demonstrate that open communication is important to you by consistently sharing with the group. Share some of your own values. or about their hobbies. you could start a discussion around values . and then ask someone else about a hobby. Lead by Example If you want to build trust within your team. your colleagues.1. create a team charter to define the purpose of the team. Make sure that you "walk the talk" here: whenever you have important or relevant information to share. and thereby prove that you have no hidden agenda. consider organizing team building exercises . Another way to get the team acquainted. Do this by asking sensitively about their family. as well as each person's role. then lead by example .

these groups can – even inadvertently – make others feel isolated. and ask everyone to write a paragraph or two about their personal history and interests. then you might be working with a group of people who have never met face to face. cliques can form within a team. Make sure that the charter addresses roles. Discourage Cliques Sometimes. as well as why they think there's a lack of trust. 6. or who have never spoken to one another personally. so that people don't feel uncertain or fearful about the work they're doing. and see what they think about cliques and their effect on other group members. and move forward together? And how can you make sure that this mistake doesn't happen again? 5. undermines trust. Once you've read the results. when everyone starts pointing fingers. it's essential to find out how these problems originate. They can also undermine trust between group members. Discuss Trust Issues If you manage an established team that has trust issues. how can you build trust between people who are hundreds – if not thousands – of miles apart? You can apply some of the advice above when you're working with a virtual team. Make sure that the charter is as comprehensive as possible. A team charter is still important for defining the goals and expectations of the team. get everyone together to talk about these issues (but make sure that you respect the anonymity of the survey!) Building Trust Virtually If you manage a virtual team . and it's easy to blame someone who causes these. to help everyone get to know one another as individuals. However. Instead. create a web page for your team's project. so that you can come up with a strategy for overcoming them. Consider giving team members a questionnaire to fill out anonymously.others to share theirs. Start an open discussion about this with your team members. Note:Use your own best judgment when asking team members or colleagues personal questions – don't invade their privacy! 4. honest mistakes and disappointments happen. and is ultimately unproductive. What can you all do to fix what happened. often between team members who share common interests or work tasks. Don't Place Blame When people work together. This lowers morale. Ask them about the level of trust within the group. and starting a conversation that allows people to share them highlights your team's humanity. an unpleasant atmosphere can quickly develop. encourage everyone in your group to think about the mistake in a constructive way. However. So. Or. Only by addressing the issue openly can you discourage this damaging behaviour. Values are important to most people. Schedule a virtual "meet and greet" if it's a new team. . as well as processes for submitting work digitally.

. if you feel that they're damaging to the group's trust and morale. and more. But with it.Next. and that they should let the rest of the team know when they'll be absent. As a leader. or on vacation. Show your team members how critical trust is to you by demonstrating your trust in them. make sure that everyone on the team is aware of other team members' expertise and skills. Key Points Trust is an essential element in team productivity. make an effort to help everyone get to know each other on a personal level. Positive follow-through builds trust quickly. as well as the value that each individual contributes to the group. and to set an example for everyone else.. It's particularly important to follow through on the promises you make. teams can accomplish everything they set out to do. Keeping your promises is incredibly important in a virtual team. Without it. and can raise the entire group's tone and expectations.. you're unlikely to get anything meaningful done. Encourage your team members to treat each other just as they would if they were working face to face. because your word is often all you can give. family. Last. as well as in your colleagues. it's important that you set an example. or hobbies. discourage cliques. This means that team members should make every effort to be on time for conference calls or web meetings. Next. Encourage conversations on values.

In the business world. . or your local community. make the difficult decisions and establish standards of performance that are constantly being met – and improving at all times. team building requires a keen understanding of people. It means knowing how each person thinks and how to best utilize their competencies rightly at all times. Are they as effective as you think? How well are they accepted by the team you are attempting to lead? Evaluate yourself and be critical about where you can improve. Team building requires the management of egos and their constant demands for attention and recognition – not always warranted. It requires the ability to master the “art of people” and knowing how to maneuver hundreds (if not thousands) of people at the right place and at the right time.6 Ways Successful Teams Are Built To Last It takes great leadership to build great teams. the late John Wooden set the standard for great coaches. Be your own boss. In 2006 Welch’s net worth was estimated at $720 million and in 2009. Building companies requires the know-how to build long-lasting teams. the company’s value rose 4000% during his tenure. As you evaluate the sustainability of the team(s) you lead and its real impact on the organization you serve. here are six ways successful teams are built to last: 1. In the sports world. Be Aware of How You Work As the leader of the team. His success was so iconic. You may have good intentions. Be flexible. Though you may be in-charge. their strengths and what gets them excited to work with others. you must be extremely aware of your leadership style and techniques. This is why most managers never become leaders and why most leaders never reach the highest pinnacle of leadership success. he launched the Jack Welsh Management Institute at Strayer University. It’s playing a continuous chess match – knowing that every wrong move that is made can cost the company hundreds of thousands. Team building is both an art and a science and the leader who can consistently build high performance teams is worth their weight in gold. professional sports. who was the Chairman and CEO of General Electric between 1981 and 2001. History has shown us that it takes a special kind of leader with unique competencies and skills to successfully build great companies and teams. According to Wikipedia. Wooden created his own “Pyramid for Success” to help others excel through his proven wisdom. we can look to Jack Welsh. Know who you are as a leader. especially in areas that will benefit those whom you are a leading. but make sure you hold yourself accountable to coursecorrect and modify your approach if necessary to assure that you’re leading from a position of strength and respectability. leading UCLA to 10 NCAA national basketball championships in a 12-year period — seven in a row. Whether in the workplace. Leaders who are not afraid to course correct. how you work may not be appreciated by those who work for you. if not millions of dollars (just ask BP and Enron).

in fact. although they may not be the most talented person on the team.2. understanding the needs of your team and embracing differences and helping your colleagues experience their significance. All great leaders know exactly what buttons to push and when to push them. 4. Fully knowing your team means that you have invested the time to understand how they are wired to think and what is required to motivate them to excel beyond what is expected from them. Feedback should be proactive and constant. In this case. Now. where some players are known as “system players” – meaning that. This is not unlike team sports. A team should operate as a mosaic whose unique strengths and differences convert into a powerful united force. I took the time to get to know him and utilized his natural talents as a strategic facilitator who could keep all of the moving parts within the department in proper alignment and in lock-step communication. Instead of firing him. Many leaders are prone to wait until a problem occurs before they give feedback. Each of your team member’s responsibilities must be interconnected and dependent upon one another. don’t assume this is an easy step. . In my “emotional intelligence blog. 3. gathering intelligence means learning what defines the strengths and capabilities of your team – the real assets that each member brings to the table. This person helped our team operate more efficiently and saved the company money by avoiding the bad decisions they previously made because of miscommunications.” I discuss the importance of caring. I once inherited an employee who wasn’t very good at his specific job. those they leave behind and those yet to be developed. Get to Know the Rest of the Team Much like you need to hold yourself accountable for your actions to assure you maximize performance and results. For example. He was eventually promoted into a special projects manager role. you’ll often find that people’s ideal roles lie outside their job descriptions. They are equally as effective at matching unique areas of subject matter expertise and / or competencies to solve problems and seek new solutions. you can then more effectively and clearly define the roles and responsibilities of those on your team. They are experts at activating the talent that surrounds them. Clearly Define Roles & Responsibilities When you successfully complete step 2. Think of your team as puzzle pieces that can be placed together in a variety of ways. but more importantly that it is improving each day. Be Proactive with Feedback Feedback is the key to assuring any team is staying on track. they know how to work best within the “system.” This is why you must have a keen eye for talent that can evaluate people not only on their ability to play a particular role – but even more so on whether they fit the workplace culture (the system) and will be a team player. you must make the time to get to know your team and encourage camaraderie.

with its own unique nuances and dynamics. Leaders are only as successful as their teams and the great ones know that with the right team dynamics. rapidly changing world of work. Celebration is a short-lived activity. People love recognition. it becomes difficult for the feedback to be authentic and impactful. Being genuine in your recognition and respect goes a long way towards building loyalty and trust. I have seen leaders fall into the trap of self-aggrandizement – because of what their teams accomplished – rather than celebrating the success stories that in many cases required tremendous effort. Take the time to give your teammates the proper accolades they have earned and deserve. Feedback can be both formal and informal. if it becomes too structured and stiff. Take the time to live in the moment and remember what allowed you to cross the finish line. people are not taking enough time to understand why they were successful and how their success reverberated and positively impacted those around them. Treat them as such. It should be something that is part of one’s natural dialogue. but are most appreciative of respect. In fact. sacrifice and perseverance. 6. In today’s fast-paced. their work brings them greater satisfaction and becomes more purposeful. I have seen too many leaders take performance for granted because they don’t believe that one should be rewarded for “doing their job. be a thoughtful leader and reassure your team that you are paying attention to their efforts. you must take the time to celebrate success. Take the time to remind someone of how and what they can be doing better. Don’t complicate the process of constructive feedback. decisions and diverse personalities. Learn from them. No cookie-cutter approach is allowed.” At a time when people want to feel as if they are making a difference. Always Celebrate Success At a time when uncertainty is being dealt with each day. Remember that every team is different.Feedback is simply the art of great communication. Feedback is two-way communication. Acknowledge and Reward With proactive feedback comes acknowledgement and reward. It organically ignites extra effort! When people are acknowledged. everyone wins in the end . This goes beyond acknowledgment – this is about taking a step-back and reflecting on what you have accomplished and what you have learned throughout the journey. Allow proactive feedback to serve as your team’s greatest enabler for continuous improvement. 5. Don’t ignore it.

tmsdi. implementing. decision-making.) Good teamwork is fundamentally important in many organizations. however. All too which has failed to achieve its goal? This may have been because people were assigned roles that didn't use their strengths. or because the team didn't have the range of abilities needed. If we assume that people tend to be better at doing things that they enjoy. When a team includes members who are good at each of these different roles. But it's harder to make sure the team has people who are good at the more general aspects of work – such as brainstorming. The profile consists of 60 questions that explore how an individual at work prefers to:  Relate to others. developed by Dr Charles Margerison and Dr Dick McCann. it is far more likely to be effective. planning.The Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile Organizing Teams for Maximum Effectiveness The Team Management Wheel is a registered trademark and is reproduced by kind permission of TMS Development International Ltd.  Organize themselves and others. team members are chosen simply because they happen to be available for a particular project. a profile is built that highlights a person's role preferences.  Make decisions. problem solving. From there. The Team Management Profile The Team Management Profile is a psychometric tool (measuring things like aptitude and personality) that has been used in personal and team development for over two decades. Margerison and McCann identified eight role preferences. One way to do this is by using the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile. They can then bring together a group of people who have the "right" strengths – strengths that complement and balance one another – and they can put people in the best position to use these strengths.  Gather and use information. and developed the Team Management Wheel shown in Figure 1 to describe them. and factchecking. (See www. So. have you ever been part of a team of hard-working and talented people. We're not talking about technical skills here – it's usually easy to make sure that your team includes individuals with the necessary knowledge and experience. managers need to understand each individual's preferences. .

and in relation to external interfaces. involves integrating and coordinating the work of others within the team.  Concluder/Producer – Prefers to work in a systematic way to produce work outputs.McCann Team Management Wheel The role preferences are as follows:  Reporter/Adviser – Enjoys giving and gathering information. What the Results Show . although the team leader has particular responsibility here.  Upholder/Maintainer – Likes to uphold standards and values and maintain team excellence. The fundamental assumption for both is that certain people prefer certain roles. shown in the center of the wheel.Figure 1 – The Margerison. although they're not identical.  Assessor/Developer – Prefers analyzing new opportunities and making them work in practice. The "Linker" role. This role has to be done by everyone.  Creator/Innovator – Likes to come up with new ideas and different approaches to tasks. and a wellbalanced team has representation from a variety of preference types.  Controller/Inspector – Enjoys focusing on the detailed and controlling aspects of work.  Explorer/Promoter – Enjoys exploring possibilities and looking for new opportunities.  Thruster/Organizer – Likes to push forward and get results. Tip: These roles are quite similar to Belbin's team roles .

it's easier to find ways to get along and work together – even though Jim might be impatient and prefer to get things moving. For example. find out how to become accredited to use the Profile. Note:Margerison and McCann also developed other related tools. Using the Tool The Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile can be used in various ways.  Where individuals are most likely to focus their efforts (the report provides a percentage of time that a person is likely to devote to various Types of Work). communicating. productivity. Another tool they developed is the Linking Skills Profile. and retention. Sharing the Profile results with fellow team members also helps increase overall team understanding and unity. As a manager. The more you match jobs to people's strengths. Tip:To learn more about the Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile. And when you recognize patterns of work preference. This determines which of the eight Types of Work in the Team Management Profile (plus the additional "Linking" type) are critical for the various tasks that the team has to perform. the completed Profile identifies one major role as well as two relates roles for each person. listening. when Jim knows why Sally cares so much about details. Key Points . and Jim understands that paying attention to detail is a relevant and essential role within the team. visit Team Management Systems Worldwide. the better your team and your organization will be. As such.The Margerison-McCann model assumes that people are more capable and motivated to perform the "Types of Work" that they prefer. leadership. that can go a long way toward building a strong work relationship – which leads to higher levels of staff satisfaction. This can be combined with the Team Management Profile to produce a report mapping a person's work preferences to the requirements of the job. and delegating. it's much easier to assign tasks that people find motivating and rewarding. This increased understanding of your team members also helps you prepare development plans that will excite your staff. or arrange for an in-company workshop. which evaluates an individual's performance in key competence areas – such as decision making. The Profile report helps managers understand why people are motivated to do some things and not others. If you demonstrate a high interest in individuals' preferences. you can use the Profiles to examine whether you've assigned people to the right tasks. such as the Types of Work Profile Questionnaire. It shows you:  Which roles each person prefers to play. It also gives some insight into each person as both an individual and a team player.

Your teams may be highly structured and well established – or they may be informal. and determine which individuals are best for each role. The Profile helps you not only create stronger teams. you have a formula for a high-performing team. the team operates more smoothly." Regardless of the type. as a result. it's important to understand team dynamics and measure team effectiveness. When people work within their preferences. but also develop skills and promote mutual understanding between team members. Teams are expected to perform well. they're more capable and productive – and. and achieve their objectives. The Margerison-McCann Team Management Profile helps you recognize the roles necessary for your team to operate at its best. By matching and balancing team roles and individual preferences. which means that individual team members must perform their roles well. . This makes it much more likely that people will work together effectively. ad hoc. and even "virtual.

self-examination. it can lead to some interesting insights into why you do things a certain way – or why you do them at all.asp). . learn by talking. [E]xtroversion –[I]ntroversion This deals with our flow of energy. and get the facts while possibly missing the main idea. One of the best-known and widely used personality tests is the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator® (MBTI). We have no association or connection with MBTI Trust Inc. everyone has a preference for one of the characteristics within each pair. Katherine Briggs and her daughter. If you know what type you are.myersbriggs. o Sensing people use their five physical senses (sight. According to the and founded analytical psychology. It's based on the work of Carl Jung. and work well in groups. prefer to work alone. and selfdiscovery. o Intuitive people prefer to rely on instincts. While each person is unique. They like real-life examples. Do you have people on your team who just can't seem to get along? And do some struggle to communicate with others. and learn by watching. taste. touch. They show their feelings.Understanding How We Relate to the World "Myers-Briggs" and "Myers-Briggs Type Indicator" are trademarks of the MBTI Trust Inc. 2. hearing. Isobel Briggs Myers. o Introverts prefer private reflection. expanded on Jung's theory to identify a total of four pairs of opposing psychological elements. use their imagination. and we use that preferred approach most of the time. [S]ensing – [IN]tuition This is how we learn information. The Psychological Scales The four psychological scales are as follows: 1. seeming to "live in parallel universes"? If so. prefer practical exercises. (see www. the famous Swiss psychiatrist who studied personality archetypes. personality theorists believe we have common characteristics that group us into certain personality types. o Extroverts are stimulated by events and people external to themselves. and get the main idea while missing some of the facts. and smell) to interpret the world. identifying their personality types – and acknowledging the differences between one-another – may help the members of your team work together more harmoniously. They work based on hunches and feelings. recognizing your colleagues' types may improve your understanding and appreciation of one another's differences – and can show you how to get along better with them. They hide their feelings. As a member of a team.

quiet. and determined. doctor. ISTJs are serious. A person who has a preference for Introversion. Determining Personality Type To identify personality type. It simply means that you'll probably use feelings to some degree. and technical operator. part of the MBTI profile assesses the relative clarity of your preferences for a particular side of the scale. but they tend to make quick and impulsive decisions. and they like structure. And it's important to remember that even if you had 100 people with the same personality type. this doesn't mean that you can't use objective data to make decisions. plans. They use lots of words. At KnowYourType. So. [J]udging – [P]erceiving This is how we deal with the world. They work accurately. and helping others. they would have a significant amount in common. The KnowYourType personality test will give you important insights into how and why people understand and approach the world in such different ways. agreement. corrections supervisor. and organization. You can get a similar assessment at HumanMetrics for free. manager. o Thinking people use logic and objective criteria. and they prefer harmony. Although one side of each scale is thought to be dominant for each of us. open to change. Thinking. and forget to appreciate the work of others. however. o Perceiving people take a laid-back. this is usually our preference and the style we use most naturally. There's no right or wrong type. and handle high-pressure situations calmly. and other factors. For example. that doesn't mean it's the only way we can relate to the world. experiences. 4. Sensing. and like to explore. Each type and each individual bring special gifts. o Feeling people use their values and subjective ideas. They are responsible. if you're a person who relies on feelings. and there are no combinations of types that are better or worse in business or in relationships. However. This is known as the Preference Clarity Index (PCI). [T]hinking – [F]eeling This is how we make decisions. you can find out your type and more. relaxed approach. and Judging would be an ISTJ. each would be different – due to genetics. Also. . the MBTI separates 16 different typologies. They may be impatient. practical. o Judging people are purposeful. They ask 'Why?' and enjoy debates. The most popular occupations for ISTJs include accountant. and dependable. They're flexible. accomplished. based on which side of each scale is dominant.3. According to personality theory. A certain set of personal characteristics is associated with the ISTJ designation to describe what this person is like. engineer. but please consider that this is not quite the same test. rules. interests.

Of course. because they're focused on getting along. type doesn't explain everything: human personalities are much more complex. can't understand why someone would want to argue. and address their weaknesses? Key Points The Myers-Briggs Type Indicator is a questionnaire designed to make psychological types understandable and useful in our everyday lives. Remember. based on the choices you made when you answered the questions. As each becomes aware of the other's preference. Therefore. it helps you to seek opportunities that most suit the way you are. This insight also helps improve your relationships with others. Feeling people. Typical applications of the MBTI include:  Managing staf – What are a person's natural strengths? For what role is an individual best suited?  Guiding careers – What types of jobs and positions will a person find most fulfilling?  Improving interpersonal relationships – How can we best relate to and communicate with other personality types to maximize understanding?  Developing education and training – Which teaching methods will ensure that all personality types benefit from the information presented?  Coaching and advising people – How can we help people understand themselves better. Your MBTI results suggest your probable type. you can use that information to improve the way you work and communicate with each other. The more you recognize your own tendencies. They don't measure skills. . they can build tolerance and understanding – and they may even be able to use their different personalities to find a balance. Thinking people and Feeling people often have a hard time getting along. identify their strengths. MBTI results identify valuable differences between people – differences that can be the source of misunderstanding and miscommunication. you're the final judge of which type fits you best. or ability. the better you're able to monitor and control your behavior around others. because they see debate as a healthy way to discover the truth.How to Use Personality Types The purpose of learning about your personality type is to help you understand yourself better. your type is not unchangeable. When you know the personality types of those around you. MBTI scores show how clearly a particular preference was reported in the questionnaire. especially if they're working together on a team. The Thinkers can't understand the need to agree. on the other hand. When you know what motivates and energizes you. For example. or degree of use. but they may help us to understand a person better – or even match a job with a worker. Instead. and it's open to personal interpretation.

And this can help you become more well-rounded. By recognizing your preferred style. Being aware of your personal preferences is one step toward understanding yourself better. you have an opportunity to develop skills to strengthen the weaker side of the scale. and reading your MBTI profile can be enlightening. and more capable of achieving great things.Completing an MBTI allows you to explore your personality. and improving your relationships with others. .