Thursday, May 5, 2016

7 Ways to Build Trust and Confidence with Your Team

Guest post from Karin Hurt and David Dye

When John needed something, he wanted it fast, and nothing made him want it faster than when the request was coming from his boss. John, figured that the most efficient way to get his answer and know that it was right was to text all of his direct reports the question at the same time and ask for the information he needed.

He’d wait for at least two people to respond, and if they had the same answer, he’d send it up the chain.

Each of his employees wanted to please John, so they dropped what they were doing and scrambled to get the answers. Which led all of them to Bob, the data guy, all in the same ten-minute window.

Bob, rightfully irritated, asked, “You do know three other people just asked for that information, right?”

“Err, nope.”

It took a few of these fire drills before the managers realized what was going on, and they were ticked.

They asked each other, “Why would he waste our time like that? Doesn’t he trust us? Doesn’t he value our time?”

After some time spent fuming, they came up with a work- around.

When the text came in, the first one to receive it would go to Bob, and Bob would give everyone the same answer, which they would all forward to John.

After receiving all the responses with identical words, John knew he’d been found out.

Although the managers eventually told John they didn’t appreciate the wasted effort, he never fully understood how hurt they were by his apparent need to quadruple verify their work.

Now if you asked John if he trusted his team, he would say “of course.” But his actions screamed otherwise.


It takes more than words to demonstrate your trust in your team. Here are several behaviors that will help you show your employees you trust them.

1. Set audacious goals.
Oh sure, your team may grumble, but managers who win well know there’s no greater gift you can give your team than leading them toward head-turning results.

Set the bar high and then tell them, “I believe in you. I know what this team is capable of. Now let’s  figure out just how, together.”

Show trust by believing it’s possible.

2. Believe in them.
We watched Sam, a manager in a small non profit, handle this masterfully with his direct report. The organization worked to ensure water quality in mountain streams. Laura, a free spirit who cared passionately about her people and clean water, managed a team of paid engineers and volunteer inspectors. She worked hard, but her team wasn’t satisfied with her performance. They wanted to see her in the field more; she didn’t know how she could make them happy, and she didn’t feel she was making a big enough impact in a cause she cared deeply about. She came into Sam’s office, slumped down in a folding chair, and declared, “I’m done.” She said she would turn in her resignation, that she’d lost faith in her ability to be an executive.

Sam was devastated. She was one of his rock stars. How had he missed conveying that to her? Sam did not accept her resignation.

“You may have lost your belief in yourself, but you have a problem,” he said.

“I do? What’s that?”

“I still believe in you. You can quit on yourself, but don’t expect me to quit on you.”

Of course, that conversation was only the start. It eventually led to Laura’s taking a more balanced view of her accomplishments and gaining the confidence she needed to continue her vital work.
Show trust by believing in their capabilities.

3. Invite them to come along.
Early in her career, one of Karin’s first bosses, Gail, brought Karin with her to senior-level meetings, arguing that “no one could explain it better” than she could.

Of course, that wasn’t true; Gail was a seriously gifted explainer. She trusted Karin would do okay and was secure enough to give up the spotlight.

We are amazed at how many bosses are afraid to give such opportunities to their team.
Show trust by sharing the stage.
4. Admit what you don’t know.
Show your team you trust them by admitting you don’t have all the answers. Trust them with your concerns. You’ll be surprised how your people rise to the occasion when you trust them with your questions.

Show trust by being real.
5. Encourage them to meet without you.
A great way to show trust in your team is to give them a big hairy
problem and ask them to meet to figure it out. Be sure to define what success looks like. Get any information, criteria, and parameters they may need out of your head and into theirs first—otherwise they’ll spin their wheels.

Show trust by getting out of the way.

6. Tell them.
This one might seem obvious, but it works. Can you imagine
how good it feels to hear, “I really trust you because . . . ”?

Show trust by telling them why.

7. Correct and move on.
If an employee screws up, talk about it, help her learn, and then
move on.
Show trust by letting it go.

Isn’t what you think or say, it’s what you do that communicates trust—or lack of it. The best way to get your team to trust you is to trust them. Trust begets trust. Hire for trust. Require trust. Rid your team of untrustworthy players. Then show your team how much you trust them.

Karin Hurt (Baltimore, MD) is a top leadership consultant and CEO of Let’s Grow Leaders. A former Verizon Wireless executive, she was named to Inc. Magazine’s list of great leadership speakers. 
David Dye (Denver, CO) is a former nonprofit executive, elected official, award-winning author, and president of Trailblaze, Inc., a leadership training and consulting firm. 

For more information, or to download a free chapter visit

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Building trust and confidence is very important in a team. Instead of being ideal, share and get along with the team would help to grow as a team which indeed helps growing as company.All the above points shared by karin and David are really valid and help build trust in jobs. Thanks for sharing!