Trust has been a hot topic of mine of late, and I have been reading and posting some thoughts about trust, how to build it, improve it, ensure you have it as a key ingredient within a team environment.

Working with a number of teams, it is incredibly important that the team build up trust with each other. Team mates do not want other mates ‘exposing’ weaknesses for example:

  • Lack of skills or gaps in skills
  • Mistakes / errors made
  • Weaknesses in some of the their interpersonal styles

When you are in a team you do not want continually reminding if there have been deficiencies in any of the above, which could be used to make other team mates look good and put you down.

By acting without trust, the team members continually guard / protect themselves from potential ‘attack’ and therefore divert their focus and energy from working on the task in hand with the team, and focus on protecting themselves – this isn’t conducive to good team-working.

If a team doesn’t have trust, they often hide mistakes or weaknesses, they fail to tap into people’s strengths and experience, they often don’t give feedback or suggest opportunities from other people within the team with a different set of skills to them.

Exercise: improve bonds within a team

Below is a simple exercise that requires you to be a little enapay to improve the bonds within a team:
Time required: 60 minutes (minimum)

  1. Each team member to provide a positive contribution about each team member, and the reason why it is positive.
  2. Each team member to provide one aspect of behaviour that should be altered or eliminated.

To run this exercise, I would recommend that you use:

  • flipchart paper for each team member: split the paper into 3 sections – Positive Contribution / Alter Behaviour / Change Behaviour
  • each team member to write the statement on a post it note, add their initials (so people know where it has come from – this helps to build trust), and post in the appropriate section for the individual

It’s a great little exercise, and one that is relatively easy to complete regardless of the current level of team-working.


Once I had written about some elements of trust and team-working, I came across a recent blog by Dan Rockwell who had been blogging about the proven path to trust.

Dan posts some great daily topics on leadership on the Leadership Freak.

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