Cohesion and great teamwork in the workplace are what managers’ dreams are made of, or so the saying goes. It is well documented that teams that work well together accomplish way more than teams that do not. Similar to other areas in people’s lives (sports, marriage, a community project, etc), because employees are people after all, much of teamwork comes down to trust. Trust builds security, dependability, confidence, and credibility. Because trust is so valuable, like other things that are valuable, it does not come easy. It takes a lot of hard work to generate trust, but lucky for you this article will provide some pointers on how to win the trust of your colleagues.
HR and management experts agree that at the top of the list for things to build trust is keeping one’s promises, aka following through on what one said they would do. For example, if you say you’re going to work this Saturday so no one else on the team has to but then back out on Friday evening, you may damage the trust between a couple of people on the team. It may damage trust of the manager who has to find a replacement team member to work in addition to the team member that is chosen and has to shuffle their schedule last minute. Obviously there are extreme situations such as a death in the family or finding one’s self unexpectedly in the hospital, for example, where other members of the team should be understanding. Barring extreme situations though, by keeping one’s promises it will allow everyone else on the team to rest easy and build trust in the process.
Communicating properly with your colleagues is another top method for building trust. Most everyone reading this will immediately say “cross this one off the list, I communicate with my colleagues all the time.” Yes, but do you do it “properly”? Using standard email etiquette, proper punctuation, and minimizing unrelated media where applicable (less cat gifs in the Slack chat), for example, are ways to communicate properly. These tactics and more all add up to the fact that communicating is about being understood, so remembering that as you are communicating will also help you communicate better. Colleagues who trust they can communicate properly together minimize time wasted from having to repeat things, going around in circles, mistakes from poor communication, etc.
Honesty is great ingredient for building trust even though it is always easier said than done. If someone makes a mistake that creates more work for the team, nobody wants to be honest and admit it was them, but doing so is important. It prevents distrust from spreading as other colleagues try to find out who made the mistake. Also, by getting in front of a mistake via honesty, it demonstrates bravery and responsibility to the rest of the team. It is recommended for such honesty to be accompanied with a promise to not let such a mistake happen again, where applicable.