How To Build Trust in Teams


How to Build Trust in Teams

Corporate culture is the only sustainable competitive advantage that is completely within the control of the entrepreneur. Develop a strong corporate culture first and foremost.” David Cummings, Co-founder of Pardot, a marketing automation platform acquired by Salesforce. 

Building a truly exceptional culture depends upon trust within the organization. Trust is defined as a “firm belief in the reliability of truth, or the ability of someone or something”. 

Trust builds solid relationships and means that you can depend upon the rest of your team, no matter what. To achieve a high level of operation with a team that feels like they are a part of an amazing workplace should be the goal of any team leader. 

You will never be able to increase levels of productivity and effectiveness without high levels of trust. It provides a sense of safety for everyone in the team and encourages reliable productivity in the team. A lack of trust erodes the well-being of the group. Hard work mixed with integrity leads to collaboration. 

Why is building trust in teams important for leaders?

Remote teams and hybrid work arrangements are here to stay. Working together in a team isn’t what it used to be. Some teams have never even met face to face. Some teams are spread all over multiple time zones, which can cause fractious or broken communication lines. 

Poor communication can result in unresolved conflicts between your virtual team members. Without a culture of trust, your employee engagement is lower than it should be, and your organization’s output will be negatively affected.

Google’s research shows that top-performing virtual teams report higher levels of trust than less successful teams. They found that only 49 percent of full-time workers believed that they felt like there was “a great deal of trust” in those working above and alongside them. That leaves over half of all full-time workers without trust in their workplace. 

What causes team trust to decline?

Team trust needs to remain high, or your team members’ vulnerabilities begin to show. Production will start to slip and the whole team will suffer. These factors can contribute to eroding trust:

Lack of communication 

Without clear communication, your team will not be in close contact. 

Misunderstandings and miscommunications become commonplace when you don’t have clear correspondence. Getting tasks handled fast and correctly requires being able to listen to what is being said by your team, both verbally and non-verbally. It also includes written instructions and requests that can be easily duplicated and understood. 

Not responding to messages or ignoring communication or comments can be disastrous when it comes to building team trust. Team culture takes time to create, and trust-building can only be achieved with transparency and honesty. 

When you overcome obstacles together use it as a team-building exercise. Praise can go a lot further than disciplinary actions. Open communication in a team builds trust and collaboration. 


Decision-making is one thing. Executing those decisions means you have to have a strong team in place that trusts each other to do their part. “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” is an old saying but holds true when it comes to teamwork. 

Dependability builds trust. When you can consistently rely on someone, or a group within your team, to get something done on time with little or no errors, and they continually do their best work, you have people you can trust. And they trust that you will keep up your side of the relationship. Support and job satisfaction on a personal level for all concerned are also built upon dependability. When you can’t depend on your team productivity slows or grinds to a halt. Disagreements begin to be aired and blame can quickly follow. This is especially true when it comes to virtual and remote teams. 

Psychological safety

Being able to take risks on the team without feeling insecure or embarrassed is an important part of psychological safety. However, because of the global Covid-19 pandemic, more people are working remotely seriously affecting work-life balance.

Remote teams have other distractions, and they may even set their own hours. On top of the challenges of dealing with normal issues in teams in the workplace, as a team leader or manager, you will have to consider the team member’s personal life and work-life balance as well. 

Psychological safety is essential to feeling like you can trust the team. Open communication means you have the door open if it’s necessary. Your team should feel they can volunteer information about themselves and their situation if it affects production and this type of communication should be encouraged.

For example, if a team member has a loved one who is ill and needs to be cared for, or a child needs something, they need to be able to discuss how they can get their work done and take care of their family issues.


Building trust in virtual teams is part of being a good leader. Teamwork can’t exist if there is no trust. You must support each other from the top-down as well as having the support from the foundation of your team. It works both ways. You trust them and they trust you. Without this reciprocal relationship, trust falls away. It is something that needs to be continually nurtured and fostered. With trust, you and your team will have a tight-knit community within the organization that supports itself and each other.