5 Steps to Establish Trust With Your Team


Establishing trust with your team is the first step to creating a high performing, positive team that thrives on success. Trust is inadvertently linked to credibility, and leaders absolutely must build credibility with their team in order to lead and manage well.

We’ve compiled five key building blocks to establish trust with your team, use these for yourself or share them with your management team so that they can lead their employees better.


As a leader of a high-performance team, you will increase trust by building a culture of partnership and shared values. This starts with open and honest communication, as when honesty and transparency are lacking there can be no trust.

Open communication is the key to a team that gels and is highly productive. The one absolute key to building trust as a business leader is to be a strong communicator. If you take the time to talk to your employees across all levels of the business and make the effort to get to know everyone, this allows for more effective communication and established credibility.

Make it known that honesty is policy and that everyone should be free to speak their mind and voice their opinions. Likewise, make a point to listen to what your team have to say. Yes, this will take time, but the consequences of not doing so can, in the worst case, be disastrous (teams working in silos, balls being dropped, scenarios of “oh, I wasn’t aware of that”).

In essence, communication helps break down departmental silos and creates interdependency between people, therefore it helps to build strong workplace alliances. In addition, it improves relationships and creates an effective environment where people share ideas and brainstorm, which encourages teamwork even further.


Building relationships is definitely easier said than done and something that happens over time, not in an instant. Building relationships with your people, and getting to know them requires you to be a great (not just a “reasonably good”) listener and communicator. An essential factor in establishing credibility is to really pay attention to what each individual responds to. What motivates them? Everyone will be different, of course, but speaking to each person's key motivators will enable them to be open and take on board what you have to communicate.

If you’re listening, you take good notes, are quick to follow through, and proactively address immediate needs and requirements to help your team be more successful.

You may be asking; okay but how do you build a positive relationship with difficult personalities? Again, listening is key, and trying to understand their point of view and making them feel heard. A way of getting around a difficult personality or scenario is to deflate the situation and actually empower the individual and help them to be more successful instead of trying to put them in their place. Often, difficult personalities simply have a need to be recognised and appreciated, so allowing these individuals to be heard is a key strategy to create a win-win situation.

Establish trust with your team to get the competitive advantage


The best way to build trust with your team is to lead by example. This is a term that is highly over-used when talking about leadership, but for good reason. The fact of the matter is, you earn respect through performance. This means not only driving business results but also acting as a trusted mentor, not being afraid to get your hands dirty and roll up your sleeves when the situation calls for it.


  1. Always follow-up on actions
  2. Be true to your word
  3. Have a proven track record
  4. Get things done (and not hindering progress)
  5. Be consistent in your approach and style

Strong leaders are fit for fight and get in the game and continue to be active and not passive players.

If you’re consistent in your approach and style, including how you build teams and relationships within the business, this consistency will show in how you operate and you will get results. Remember, any hidden agendas can be caught out. Don’t forget that “perception is reality” and making sure the team is one strong entity will facilitate you to action your plan of attack.


Business can be a minefield at the best of times, so how can leaders navigate an increasingly demanding environment? Taking the time to develop your emotional intelligence is essential when it comes to establishing trust.

As a manager, you'll be mindful of listening to everyone, putting yourself in their shoes, doing the “right thing” (for example, giving credit where credit’s due, doing your due diligence etc) and sometimes choosing your battles strategically.

Using your emotional intelligence also entails supporting the team and aiming to create a level of harmony within the team so that big egos get balanced out and a consensus is created. If you’re highly emotionally intelligent, you can play the office politics game in a savvy but fairway.


Clearly, conflicts in the workplace will arise; it’s how you deal with them that is your time to shine. Conflicts and tension can decrease productivity and make team members feel nervous and hostile, so deflating tensions is a key skill that strong leaders need to learn.

Being able to solve problems in a simple and transparent way, makes you an extremely efficient, and respected, leader. A way to do this is to empower others to make suggestions and recommendations. Instead of telling people what to do, ask lots of questions, lead masterfully from the back, eloquently address issues by getting other key players involved in order to find quick solutions.

Thus, it’s not just about you being a lonely leader at the top, itching your head furiously to find a resolution. Getting your team involved not only helps you but makes them feel empowered and in control. This is a methodical way of breaking down problems into manageable pieces.

Seeing conflicts in a positive light creates opportunities to actually build relationships and also teaches the team to solve problems for themselves when you’re not around.


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