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How to Build Trust in a Team at Work & Remote: Ways + Activities

Trust is the foundation of any successful team. It’s what allows members to take risks, voice their opinions, and share their ideas, and it’s what makes people want to come back day after day.

But building trust isn’t always easy – especially when you’re leading a remote team.

Studies show that only 1 in three employees trust their leaders. That means that if you’re a team leader, building trust is your number one priority.

Luckily there are some things we can do as managers and leaders to build trust with our teams.

This article will show you how to do that.

How to Build Trust in a Team – Key Elements to Build Trust + How to Lead Remote Teams

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Why is it Important to Build Trust in a Team?

The number one reason why building trust in a team is the most important thing is that it helps with fostering open communication.

Asking insightful questions related to different aspects of a project is also another way to foster open communication among team members.

This helps everyone get on the same page and see eye-to-eye concerning what they’re trying to accomplish and how it fits in the larger picture.

To build trust, take a leap of faith and ask these fundamental questions:

  • What did I specifically like about this project?
  • If you were allowed to make a change, what would it be and why?
  • Where do you see improvements that can be made in your team environment?
  • What makes you feel like your teammates are trustworthy, open, and reliable?
  • Did something happen recently that led you to have a better understanding of someone on your team as a person or colleague?
  • How does our communication stack up against other teams you’ve worked on in the past? Is there anything we can improve upon?

 

Why is it Important to Build Trust in a Team

Lack of trust is at the root of team dysfunction. So, it’s important to foster an environment of trust among your team members.

A lack of trust is also one of the main reasons team members leave their jobs.

Trust is even more important if you’re a leader. Your team needs to trust that you’ll not only treat them fairly and create an environment where everyone feels safe and respected but also that you’ll do everything in your power to help them be successful.

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5 Steps How to Build Trust in a Team Including Virtually

Here are the steps needed to take for you to build trust in a team.

Establish Team Values

Your values are what you stand for as a company and will be the foundation on which you build your brand. Such values can be fun, family, passion, growth, excitement, and humility.

The more important these values become to employees individually and collectively (trust), the more effective your team will be in responding to the challenges that arise.

These values are important because they help establish a standard for expected behavior.

People know how they’re supposed to behave, and decisions become easier because everyone is working toward the same goal.

5 steps How to Build Trust in a Team Including Virtually

Foster Open Communication

To build trust, your team members must know that they can approach you and talk with you about anything. And just as importantly, they need to see you communicating with the rest of the team similarly.

Be an active listener when others are speaking, and above all else be respectful of other people’s opinions—even if you don’t agree with them. Showing vulnerability is a sure way to help build trust with others.

This means you should share your flaws with other members of your team. Don’t be afraid that they might take advantage of you; in fact, they’ll respect you even more for doing so.

Having one on one’s with your team members frequently is a great place to start building strong work relationships.

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Schedule Regular Meetings

Regular meetings help build trust because they allow team members to communicate in a formal setting.

In addition, these meetings allow you to share ideas and provide updates on progress related to your projects.

But don’t just hold meetings at random times; make sure they align with milestones that are valuable for determining whether to go forward with your project or not.

Make sure that everyone on your team understands the purpose of the meeting and what they’ll be expected to contribute.

Then, make sure that you hold everyone to a level of individual accountability for their commitments (such as handing in reports or giving project updates).

Propose Team-building Activities

Team activities help people get to know each other beyond what they normally do in the office or over email.

These types of activities show that you care enough about your team and their relationships with one another to set aside time for them outside of work.

While some of these events can be serious and productive (such as conducting a training session on personal finance), others are better suited for fostering social connections (such as getting everyone together for dinner).

 

5 step How to Build Trust in a Team Including Virtually

But whatever type of activities you choose, make sure that they:

A) Add value to your company’s performance by creating high-performance teams

B) Are similar to previous events or outings – in other words, they continuously build on one another

C) Give people an opportunity to address any concerns they have with one another directly

D) Include structured opportunities for people to get to know one another

Build a Trusting Team When it Matters Most

Team members must feel safe and secure to build trust. That’s why it’s up to you as their leader to give them a reason to open up.

The best way to do this is by demonstrating your vulnerability and sharing with your team how you’re handling certain issues (such as stress or anxiety).

Not only does this help others see that they can be honest with you about their issues, but it also shows teams exactly what behaviors are acceptable within the organization.

It doesn’t matter whether you’re working at a company of 10 people or 10,000 people—building trust should be at the top of your priority list each day.

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Activities for Building Trust in a Team

Building trust in a team can be done through a variety of exercises and activities.

Here are a few suggestions that can help your team start the journey to building trust:

1.) Trust Games

These activities give participants opportunities to experience various feelings of trust or distrust within a safe environment.

2.) Trust Falls

This activity will make you and your team members experience a new level of trust among each other.

This is all about having complete faith in someone else’s ability to catch you if you fall – believing that they are prepared for anything and can handle even the toughest situations without judgment or harshness.

3) Three-dimensional games

3D games are fun activities where teams engage with each other through physical actions and try to solve their problems by working together.

It’s another way to let your remote teammates know more about each other as people by getting them out of their comfort zone while also being creative at improving their productivity and efficiency.

Activities for Building Trust in a Team

4) Dancing

It’s a great way to get people involved and connected. It also helps develop empathy, tolerance, respect for differences, and other important values that team members should share in common.

5) Creative games

Playing around with ideas and working through new creative challenges helps build team trust in a team because you’re all getting to know each other better, building stronger relationships, and helping each member learn from colleagues.

6) Connect over food

this is a great way to get people involved and connected. It also helps develop empathy, tolerance, respect for differences, and other important values that team members should share in common.

7) Mindfulness exercises

this activity can help you to regulate your emotions and improve the quality of trust in a team. When we are present in all life situations, without judging our experience, we acknowledge that thoughts, feelings, and bodily sensations are always changing.

If you want to build a high trust culture within any team, no matter if it’s a remote team or a local one, there must be some sort of bonding between the members.

It’s essential to have open communication channels with your remote team members so they gather valuable knowledge about the company culture while promoting transparency between employees.

These types of systems can help improve the internal connections within the organization and make any employee feel welcomed inside their office space – regardless of where they are located.

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Step Up Your Team Building

As a leader, here are four types of questions you can ask to help build rapport and deepen relationships with your team members:

1. Clarifying

These questions focus on understanding an idea or concept (“What do you mean by…?” “Can you explain that further?”) This is especially important when someone says something you don’t quite understand or agree with.

2. Understanding the other person

These questions help you understand why someone believes or acts the way they do (“What brought you to this decision?” “How much have you thought about this?”)

3. Motivating

These questions are designed to help people share what motivates them, their dreams and aspirations, and where they see themselves in future years (“Why are you excited about this project?” “Where do you hope it takes your career?”).

Knowing how employees feel about their job helps you better meet your team’s needs.

4. Challenging

You can use these questions to challenge others to come up with new ideas or suggest different ways of doing things (these can also be called “perspective questions”) (“What if we did it this way?” “What would happen if we started over?”).

Asking these kinds of questions can help you get your team to have a better understanding of the projects they’re working on, and it can also give them new insights.

Step Up Your Team Building

Key Elements to Build Trust in Remote Teams

Let’s now take a look at some of the main key elements when it comes to building trust in remote teams.

A remote team offers different changes than a normal team but at the same time, many things are similar.

Dependability

Building trust within the business comes down to being dependable. If you’re an individual contributor, this means meeting deadlines and not overpromising.

If you’re a manager, your team members should be able to rely on you when they need help or want feedback. Every company has its own team culture, so what does dependability mean in your company?

Consistency

Being consistent means being fully present and focused when you’re with someone. It also means that you keep your promises. What are some ways to show consistency in remote teams?

Always try to be available on the same days and times each week for your team, regardless of where you are (at home, out at a restaurant). An effective team is a consistent team.

Congruency

Congruency means you act in alignment with your values and beliefs. Congruent people are trustworthy because they consistently treat others the same way, no matter what.

You’re more likely to be trusted if you act consistently with your values and beliefs than if you try to out-do others or put yourself first.

Key Elements to Build Trust in Remote Teams

Reciprocity

You build trust when you do things for other people and then they do something for you, even if it’s not exactly what you asked or expected.

What are some ways to show this? Try to go out of your way to help others solve problems. Remember that building a relationship takes time, so don’t expect immediate results from spending extra time with a team member.

Be patient – it will pay off. In addition to this, even if you’re not a manager it’s always good to be dependable, consistent, and congruent. You can set an example for people who work with you by doing the right things.

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Reciprocity

You build trust when you do things for other people and then they do something for you, even if it’s not exactly what you asked or expected.

What are some ways to show this? Try to go out of your way to help others solve problems.

Remember that building a relationship takes time, so don’t expect immediate results from spending extra time with a team member.

Be patient – it will pay off. In addition to this, even if you’re not a manager it’s always good to be dependable, consistent, and congruent.

You can set an example for people who work with you by doing the right things.

Key Element to Build Trust in Remote Teams

Confidence

Confidence among teammates is about setting your standards high and not being afraid to ask for what you want. Confident people are respected because they aren’t afraid to speak their minds even if it’s uncomfortable.

They believe there’s power in sharing their opinions—even if others disagree. Moreover, confident people show they’re worthy of trust by their work and their actions.

As a leader, it’s important to allow some “air” in your team, e.g., allowing them to experiment or fail without feeling like they will be judged.

Overall Conclusion Of Long Term Goals

In general, it’s important for any company or organization seeking team success in their projects to first approach trust-building exercises as an investment into the future.

Building trust will help employees feel welcomed inside their office space regardless of where they are located or if they work online.

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