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?