Six Leadership Tactics To Build A Trusting And Loyal Team

Our work worlds can either energize or debilitate us. There isn’t anything more deflating than coming to work each day and feeling uncomfortable in our workplace or worrying about how our team members might respond in their daily routines. Leaders can even feel drained teaming up with a group of people on a project where there is little trust.

Working with all kinds of teams for many years I can share that the levels of trust and loyalty break down for many different reasons.

  • Sometimes things fall apart when new members are hired or long time players decide to leave.
  • Other times the workload becomes overwhelming causing loyalty to one another to fall by the wayside.
  • Changes in leadership can unnerve even a high performing team as it takes time to build up loyalty and trust with a new person.
  • Of course conflicts that go unresolved can also breakdown the flow and camaraderie of team members.

There are so many more reasons why trust levels can drop off but that doesn’t mean they can’t be rebuilt.

Let’s look at six leadership tactics to build a trusting and loyal team:

1. GATHER TOGETHER FOR A TRUE ASSESSMENT OF THE TEAM

When a leader senses that their team no longer has a trusting atmosphere it is time to gather the troops for a look inwards. The leader may be the head of the team or one of the team members. Either way, that individual leads by stepping up and admitting that there is little trust and transparency among the team members. Have a discussion. Listen to each other. Identify the issues preventing loyalty and trust.

2. ENCOURAGE HONEST, CLEAR AND RESPECTFUL COMMUNICATION

If communication is the oil that keeps a team flowing make sure the words and tone shared are direct, clear, true and respectful.

  • Tell the truth even if it is painful.
  • Use positive language that is descriptive and specific.
  • Speak to the behavior and actions, not the personalities.
  • Use civil tones, never shouting but with a volume that can be heard.

3. DEVELOP TEAM VALUES TO GUIDE YOU

If a team has a set of values to guide them, there will be clearer decisions and actions. Core values help keep teams moving in a direction that supports their purpose and beliefs. Create a team coat of arms that describes what is important to the members and how the team wants to behave. Write the values out in words or pictures. Have a conversation about how the values look in the workplace.

4. LEARN HOW TO DEAL WITH DIFFERENT STYLES

Each team member brings their unique strengths to projects, customer interactions and strategies. One critical way to build trust is to play to each person’s gifts by acknowledging their contributions and being grateful for their insights.

  • Conduct a DiSC assessment or Myers-Briggs Inventory assessment for each team member to discover communication and behavioral styles.
  • Talk about each style’s strengths and blind spots.
  • Share ways to better interact with styles different from your own.
  • Honor each style and remember teams need all styles to see different perspectives.

5. WELCOME INNOVATION AND CHANGE

A great way for leaders to build loyalty and trust is to encourage innovation and experimentation whether or not the innovation pans out.  Teams shouldn’t get stuck on failing but rather focus on taking a chance and trying new ideas.

6. MEET REGULARLY TO SUSTAIN A TEAM SPIRIT AND DIRECTION

In order to sustain a workplace that has trust and loyalty it is helpful to meet regularly to identify what is working and what isn’t. At these gatherings make sure to reach out to each team member to ask for input and concerns. That way team members will feel they belong to a team that values them.

How do you build a trusting and loyal team environment?

 

4 thoughts on “Six Leadership Tactics To Build A Trusting And Loyal Team

  1. Reading your post reminded me of a team meeting I was in literally over 20 years ago. Our team was charged with forging a new path and there was a lot of stress on each individual and a lot of inter-team tension. I can remember our manager bringing us together to talk about how we needed and wanted to work as a team. We also came up with team agreements. Anyone who thinks that is too touchy-feely, I can attest that it transformed our working relationship and we pulled off what some thought was impossible with flying colors. Great advice, Terri!

    Alli

  2. I love the idea of a “team agreement”! Often when team members aren’t getting along it is because they have different perspectives of how tasks should be carried out as well as appropriate ways to communicate the obstacles they face. When teammates get together and create a common strategy of how to best deal with conflict and roadblocks there is usually less friction and more positive action.

    Thanks Alli!

  3. One of the most effective tools I’ve seen are personality assessments like DiSC, Myers Briggs, or the Enneagram. Once people are made aware of how their behavior affects others on the team, they can then choose how to respond in different situations rather than simply “defaulting” to behavior that impedes communication with others. We all react to stress in different ways, but the more we can educate ourselves about what our stress looks like, the better we can recognize it when it rears its ugly head…

  4. Understanding first how we naturally communicate and behave is critical for leaders in order to connect more successfully with others. Working with all levels of leadership it is always an eye-opening moment when people see how they are coming across. Although we may be very direct naturally if we are collaborating with someone on our team who needs to build relationships first, we need to flex and work on that relationship initially.

    Thanks LaRae!

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