Guide - Creating trust inside the team

Last updated
Wednesday, March 27, 2019 - 12:26

What is Trust?

In any activity that involves collaboration with other people directly or indirectly, there is a key element of interaction, without which it is doomed to failure: Trust. Whether in a military squad, a sports team, in our family environment or in our workplace, getting the members of the group to trust each other is non-negotiable.

The RAE defines Trust as "the strong hope you have in someone or something." For TeamEQ, TRUST means being able to count on the organization, the leader and the colleaugues. It allows team members to feel safe, unafraid to share opinions and ask for help. Trust has an impact on communication, on the exchange of innovative ideas, on loyalty to the company and, therefore, on the volume of business, teamwork, collaboration and productivity.

It is important to understand that Trust is a feeling, so it cannot be managed as an order. No matter how high up in the company someone is, he/she cannot order an employee to trust him/her or any other person in the organization. If that employee does not feel that the order is given by someone reliable, he simply will not fulfill it. Therefore, whatever our position within a team or a company, we must ask ourselves the following question: How are we going to prove to others that we are trustworthy?

From the outset, we need to understand that the people who we work with know not to trust everything and everyone, but rather to be clear about who can be trusted and what for. People do not trust others just because they do, without explanation. So in order for this to happen, we must create a reliable, secure and transparent environment.


What are the benefits for the team?

Getting team members to feel genuine trust for each other is a task that can be arduous, but whose benefits will be remarkable:

  • Cooperation: when the members of a team do not trust each other, the individuals will focus on completing their own tasks. However, team members that trust each other will feel more comfortable asking for advice or help, and they will get it because they know that the others would do the same for them. This sort of cooperation can work between departments if this trust spreads throughout the organization and the benefits for the company will be immediately obvious.
  • Autonomy: when employees trust each other, their superiors and the company, they are able to act proactively and without waiting for instructions since they are not scared of reprisal were they to make a mistake. This will help the company to progress and help employees to grow and feel more fulfilled.
  • Security: if the employee is aware that he works in a company that he can trust, he will feel much safer on all levels. He knows that his boss and the company will always try to make honest, transparent and thoughtful decisions.
  • Information flow: if a trusting environment is created within the company, employees will speak with greater freedom, provide constructive opinions and favour the joint improvement of the teams. Otherwise, information will not be exchanged effectively, which will create stagnation and inertia.
  • Loyalty: Trust is is one of the most important factors for developing loyalty among employees. If the company shows its workers that it defends honest and sincere values, they will identify more with what the company represents, and become ambassadors of the company for which they work.


How can we improve the level of trust within the team?

If we want to create trust within our work environment, we need to get this feeling going in both directions: the team must trust its leader, and the leader the employees.

Pablo Cardona and Helen Wilkinson, professors of the IESE Business School, conducted an investigation entitled "How to create the virtuous circle of trust". Both experts stress that behaviours that generate confidence should stem mainly from team leaders, managers and directors and include:

  • Consistency and predictabilityit is fundamental not to contradict oneself, to be consistent with what one says and, whenever a decision is made or an opinion expressed, it is done so in a reasoned manner.
  • Integrity and empathyTrust is transmitted, in large part, through example, by talking about values and then defending them. In addition, worrying about the employees will also help to create that trusting environment we want for our team.
  • Open and fluent communication: being a good communicator, knowing how to listen, allowing people to express themselves freely and in a respectful and responsible way as well as being being sincere and honest. This is key if we want teams to trust each other.
  • Delegation of tasksIf important tasks are entrusted to employees they will feel that the boss trusts their abilities, which will also increase the level of motivation and involvement.


Concrete actions to take note of:


It is important to create a space or communication channel with employees where they can express their opinions, doubts, suggestions ... they can do it through the channels offered by the TeamEQ platform, but it is also important to be available to employees if they need to talk. If employees express themselves through TeamEQ, it is important to respond to the most significant comments.


It is important to be considerate of the work of others, even when it does not live up to expectations. Recognizing effort and allowing for error are two tremendously effective engines that can help to build trust amongst employees. Even if the result was not as expected, we must be equally grateful and point to the specific areas that need reviewing. Even when the result is only adequate, it is still essential to congratulate the person who did it.


It is worth remembering that the higher the position in the company, the more information that person has access to for making important decisions. So, whenever possible, as long as it is constructive for the company, it’s a good idea to share this same information with the employees. That way they understand exactly why a particular decision has been made.


It is essential to be honest and consistent with commitments made to gain others’ confidence and trust. It is therefore critical to be responsible and thoughtful about promises made, ensuring they can be kept. If for any reason they can’t be fulfilled, it is important to explain what has happened and minimize the negative impact that the failure to fulfill that promise may have.


It is important to remember that one of the main causes for success of a company comes from the employees on the floor. It is therefore advisable to thank them for their effort and to recognize that if a company works it is, in large part, thanks to them.


When a leader or manager is erratic and unpredictable, it creates insecurity and uncertainty among fellow workers. It is important to be consistent and consequential so that employees know what to expect from a leader and feel open to express themselves without fear of not knowing what response they will receive.


In summary...

Trust is one of the most important elements in ensuring that a team works as well as possible, regardless of any group objective. It is is something that all individuals need to work on, starting at the top since Trust does not depend on rank, but has to be built up.

The benefits of a team trusting each other are enormous: the capacity for cooperation increases, the employees are more proactive and will feel more secure. In addition, information flows more naturally and the company will give off a strong sense of loyalty whilst working.

If you want to know more about Trust, TeamEQ recommends these TED talks as a guide or inspiration: