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Team Development: Teambuilding: Trust

1. Overview

  • Trust is a vital component of a team which fosters innovation, sharing, collaboration, and productivity
  • To build trust among team members, assess trust, understand gaps, and incorporate positive changes
  • Specific actions are required to build trust

2. Trust is Essential to Team Effectiveness

  • Trust encourages risk raking 
    • Allows team members to challenge the normal way of doing things
    • Encourages the discovery of more innovative solutions 
  • Trust facilitates information sharing
    • Enables team members to have open honest conversations
    • Fosters a feeling of confidentiality - “what’s said in the room stays in the room”
  • Trust encourages collaboration
    • Allows the team members to spend more time working together than protecting themselves or “watching their backs”
  • Trust enhances productivity
    • Enables team members to put aside personal goals to achieve common team goals
    • Fosters commitment of every member to work together efficiently

3. Build Trust Among Team Members


  • Assess Trust
  • Catalyze Understanding
  • Address Trust
  • Practice Behaviors
  • Anchor Change

4. Specific Trust Building Actions

  • Be honest: be upfront and truthful even with difficult conversations
    • Getting caught in a lie destroys trust
  • Show people you care: genuinely care about other people’s interests as much as your own
    • Being “me-oriented” sets off alarms
  • Trust others:  give the benefit of the doubt until you have data to the contrary
    • Jumping to conclusions inspires mistrust
  • Address issues directly: confront the problem to improve the working relationship
    • Avoiding issues erodes trust
  • Share relevant information: share knowledge, interests, and experiences to create common ground
    • Blindsiding someone breaks trust
  • Follow through on commitments: act responsibly and reliably by carrying a fair share of the workload
    • Missing deadlines (without prior discussions) makes you seem unreliable
  • Say “no” when you mean it:  let the other person have their needs met elsewhere if you truly can’t handle additional work
    • Saying yes without follow through leads to others doubting your commitment
  • Share what you know and what you don’t: be generous with your knowledge but admit when you don’t have the answers
    • Acting like a “know-it-all” alienates people

5. Additional Reading

The Himmelfarb Health Sciences Library
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