How to Build Trust in Your Team

Leadership can be complicated, especially in today’s VUCA (volatile, uncertain, chaotic, and ambiguous) world. Yet the leaders who can build trust with their teams will discover that successfully navigating the VUCA environment may not be easy, but it is possible.

The question we often get from our clients and Leadership Evolution Program participants is, “How do we generate trust in our teams so that they feel valued, engaged, and productive?” Our quick answer? Be kind and genuinely care about the people on your team. 

That makes sense, right? Be good to others and they will be good to you? In some respects, that is correct. However, being kind and genuinely caring about the people on your team goes beyond The Golden Rule of treating others how you want to be treated and taps more into The Platinum Rule of treating others how they want to be treated. 

The reason why following The Platinum Rule helps leaders develop stronger, more trusting relationships with their teams is because of what it requires the leader to do. Leaders must remember that the people who work for us are the same people that work with us. Our teams, when given the freedom to do so, are the ones that carry our organizational goals forward to completion. They are the ones that contribute ideas, solutions, and perspectives. They are on our teams for a reason, right? We believed in their ability to get the job done. Now, as leaders, we must step back and trust in that ability. Now, I am not talking about practicing hands-off leadership here. Quite the opposite. Our teams look to us to support, guide, and provide opportunities for them to develop the knowledge, skills, and confidence to complete the task at hand. But when our teams see that what they do and the reason they are on our teams is purposeful and we trust them, they strive to bring that greater purpose to life.

Another reason why The Platinum Rule supports a leader in generating trust and developing relationships is that to treat people as they want to be treated, the leader must know something about that person. More specifically, the leader must learn what brings out the best in their direct reports, what they need to get their jobs done, and what they ultimately want from their careers. Gathering this insight takes time, genuine investment, and a consistent practice of kindness. Intentionally investing in relationships with your direct reports generates both trust and a feeling of being cared for. Caring, not in the way that you are the boss that brings donuts in every Monday morning to show that you care about your team, but in the way that you feel what they are feeling, celebrate what they are celebrating, and genuinely know who they are and what’s important to them.

There is a lot required of leaders today, and it is not getting easier. Yet it’s important to stay positive and continuously stretch yourself to see the bigger picture. Those leaders who are not able to see the bigger picture will find themselves stepping into more and more difficult situations, and more frequently, at that. One of the reasons for this is that they are only relying on their abilities and not seeing what their team offers if trusted to do so. They are internally focused. Whereas, when we step outside ourselves and follow The Platinum Rule, generate trust by intentionally investing in our relationships, and go beyond the coffee and donut approach to show just how much we care, we cultivate a culture that works together and more successfully achieves our goals. Doing these things also shows kindness in our leadership. The very kindness that will guide us to the other side, no matter the challenges the world may bring us.

So, this week we invite you to integrate one or more of the following recommendations in your leadership and let us know how it goes.

  • Be kind.
  • Show your team that you genuinely care for them by intentionally investing in them.
  • Follow The Platinum Rule and treat others how they want to be treated.
  • Enjoy the coffee and donuts while also having one-on-one conversations with your team members and talk with them about what they want from their careers and how you can support them.
  • Trust in your team. Believe each person on the team is offering up their best every time.
  • Consider the bigger picture and actions that you might take to generate even more trust.

Building trust within our teams takes time, intention, and consistency. However, it also strengthens relationships, promotes innovation, and increases engagement within ourselves and others.

Looking to learn more about better navigating the VUCA world, generating trust within your organization, and becoming a more effective leader? We help leaders of Fortune 500 companies and national organizations better understand the actions they can take that work best for themselves, their teams, and their organizations. Contact us to learn more about our executive coaching opportunities and Leadership Evolution Program at [email protected]. We will talk soon.