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How to Build Trust in Your Team

Trust is a tricky thing. It takes months and years to build but can be lost in a moment. And yet, trust is the single most important bond in any relationship in life. In the corporate world, trust plays an important part in the relationship between team members and more importantly, between a leader and their team.

“Trust starts with trustworthy leadership. It must be built into the corporate culture.” Barbara Brooks Kimmel

How to Build Trust in Your Team?

In any organization, you can only control and build trust in your own team and the teams you might work with. But even then building trust takes time and effort and to be able to establish trust, you must always work towards it.

Build trust from the start

It’s much harder to start building trust after there is a sense of untrustworthiness already established. So begin when a new employee joins or better still, at their interview. Start from the beginning so that there is never any doubt. Allow employees to see that the team and the organization is a space that can be comfortable in and that they can trust.

Hire the right managers

Hire the kind of people you think will emulate the quality of trust you have or have their own trustworthiness to bring to the team. This way you can be assured that while you yourself will be building an environment of trust, so will the manager who is managing your teams.

Be honest

Always keep your staff informed about whatever is going on at the company that might concern them. Be honest and communicate the details of the situation and be prompt in letting them know. It’s important to keep them informed so that they don’t make assumptions of their own, which might lead to distrust and other complications. If you don’t know something, be honest about it. Let them know you don’t know but you are working to figure it out. Employees will appreciate that and their trust in you and the company will increase. This also means being honest and direct in difficult situations without delay. Address these issues as soon as possible and make sure others know the issue is being dealt with. This will make your intentions and principles clear to the team.

Be approachable and fair

Maintain a policy that encourages your team to come to you with anything they might feel is of concern. Having an open policy, not only keeps the underlying issues at bay, but it also helps you observe and find the problem before it’s too late. Also, treat all employees with the same respect and the same considerations. This will show your level of integrity and further build their trust and faith in you and the team.

Celebrate wins and losses

Be sure to celebrate every win, no matter how big or small, or whose win it might be. This encourages the desired behavior from the team. Also remember to allow for failure. While celebrating failure doesn’t mean encouraging it, but don’t discourage it either. Allow for some failure and instead of punishing it, make it a learning opportunity. This will not only increase the quality of work, but it will also increase the team’s trust in you exponentially because they have

Invest in the employees

Invest in their growth and well-being. Organize or facilitate learning experiences for each individual member of the team depending on their skill set, strengths, and areas for improvement. These could be in the form of webinars, training sessions, discussions, or others.

Be a leader

Being a boss and being a leader are two different things. People follow in the footsteps of a boss because of fear or duty, while people follow a leader because they are captivated and want to follow them. Being a good leader will allow you to instill and build trust in the team.

Be courteous

Don’t forget to say please, thank you, and sorry. These basic courtesies go a long way. Especially when it comes from someone at a higher position. It lets the employees know that you are virtuous and worthy of being trusted. Also, saying sorry and admitting your mistake will help you gain their trust. It says that you are not protecting yourself with your own ego and that you can admit being wrong.

Trust others

It’s hard to ask for people’s trust if you don’t trust them in return. So make sure you allow them to show you that they too are worthy of trust. Ensure that managers build trust in each other so that their teams can witness that and trust each other too.

Building trust is a delicate but necessary tool to have in a team. It allows each one to rely on the rest and that’s what a team is. It builds confidence and is imperative for a successful team.


Q. Why is it important to build trust from the start?
A. Starting to build trust when mistrust has already set in is difficult because it might have already given space for doubt.

Q. Why is it important to invest in employees in order to build trust?
A. Investing in the growth and well-being of employees allows them to see that you have their interest in mind as much as the company’s. This will allow them to trust you since you have already extended a bit of trust in them.

National University of Singapore Business School Accelerated Management Program

Content Admin

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