Seven Success Strategies for Gaining Trust & Respect Among Team Members

We’ve all been there – a team leader who no one respects; a team member who few trust on any level, the unsociable teammate that no one likes, etc. None of us want to be that person. Most of us work towards like-ability first when, in fact, we should be working on gaining trust and respect first. Teamwork in the workplace requires real trust among teammates.

Ask yourself, if you had to choose between working with someone you like or someone you trust who would you choose? Of course you would choose the person you trust. So why are so many teammates working to be liked rather than establishing trust?

Teamwork in the WorkplaceThe real question is, how long does it take to build trust? The answer really depends on who we are talking about.

Bryan, for example, is quite easy at trusting and is open to people right away and delegates effectively. On the other hand, Joan is concerned about getting the job done right and believes no one can do it as well as she can. It may appear that she is less trusting, even if the task is to be delegated to the same person that Bryan is delegating to.

We all agree on one major fact about trust: once breached, it takes a long time to rebuild. So let’s talk about things we call all do to develop a higher level of trust and respect among our team members.

These strategies should never be used to accomplish an ulterior motive. They are a means to greater success for all.

  • Do what you say you are going to do, when you say you are going to do it, even if no one else is watching. This is a simple definition of integrity, as well. When you have demonstrated that you can be counted on, even if you are thinking no one is paying close attention, you have just planted a giant seed of trust.
  • Show concern for others on the team. This sounds so simple, yet the basics are what can undermine any team. Take time to get to know your coworkers; what they like and what they dislike. When you make it about them, they are likely to be more trusting of you. Take this one step further and, at least once a month, do something for someone on your team that they do not expect. This could be a simple as doing their least favorite task or taking them to lunch. Remember, people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
  • Don’t keep others waiting on you at team meetings. Often, when you are late to meetings or on deadlines, your credibility is lost. Always plan on showing up to meetings at least 10 minutes early. Bring extra work or something to read during the downtime until the meeting gets started.
  • Praise others on your team. Always be willing to share in the success of everyone whenever possible. Again, this is making it about them.
  • Always be prepared for the unexpected. A great way to build respect from colleagues is to be ready to take the lead when a problem arises. You will be viewed as the likely leader in times of crisis and others will respect your ability to lead.
  • Be willing to admit your mistakes. Never push blame to others. This is one of the greatest signs of humility and will show teammates you are not cocky. In many cases, it can actually become a sign of confidence.
  • When you hear gossip, don’t spread it around. When you hear gossip, there are actually three things you can do:
    • Listen in one ear and out the other.
    • Listen and digest it.
    • Listen and repeat it.

    Either of the first two can help. The third will definitely breech any trust you may have built with your teammates.

We have all worked hard to get where we are today and the old adage of, “Getting to the top is easier than staying there” may very well be true here. Keeping a team intact is a difficult task. Once a team is truly in the performing phase, it is critical to share in the team’s success and not take the activities or behaviors of members for granted. Teamwork is constantly a work in progress.

Teamwork and respect go hand-in-hand. It takes work. Remember that trust may take time to develop with some and is easily lost with everyone, so be careful and always be working on the trust factor.

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