Developing trust in teams

How do you assess if your team trusts one another?

Whether it’s before taking action to build trust or after, it’s important to assess the level of trust your team has. The one thing you should never do is assume trust is already established or that it will remain without continuous care. There are a number of things that can cause your team to lose trust, and constant assessment of the team will help spot those red flags before it gets out of control.

One way to assess the team is through engagement surveys. Every couple of months, your team can run a survey that assesses how engaged your people are. This assesses their engagement levels regarding things such as the organization, the work, and their team. Using tools like PI’s Employee Experience Survey can make this process much easier. However, you can also use more manual survey tools and ask team members to rate statements like the ones below.

Getting a pulse on how the team is feeling will help identify any gaps that need to be addressed. This is a time where you can also lead with transparency. Discuss the results with your team, and determine a plan together.

You can also do this in more informal ways. If you have direct reports who also have people reporting to them, you can try out skip level meetings. Skip level meetings are meetings where instead of talking to your direct reports, you would meet with just the individuals your direct reports manage. 

Let’s preface this by stating that the intent of a skip level meeting isn’t to get anyone in trouble. Instead, this is an informal opportunity for you to get insight into how teams are doing that you don’t directly manage. Don’t use this as a platform to give your opinions. Take this time to let others do most of the talking and help you understand how the team is doing. Use this feedback to strategize with your direct reports, figuring out what can be done to help their teams improve.

You might even consider being blunt and asking outright, “Do we trust each other?” If you ask this in your next team meeting, what do you think the team’s answer would be? Push the importance of trust and the direction you feel the team needs to go. It won’t be as easy as just stating that you need to trust each other, but it does get you headed in the right direction. 

Copy link