Can you be Trusted?

Trust is the foundation of relationships whether business, personal, products, services, and even governments. Trust just happens to be the biggest potential opportunity for developing a corporate culture of engagement, building teams and delivering exceptional service to your clients, students, customers and employees.

Here are 3 fundamental requirements to build trust:


Do you have the ability, knowledge, relevant experience and resources to perform a specific task in your required domain of expertise?

We should each be skilled and knowledgable about the products and services our organization provides to a degree that we can speak about them with confidence and clarity. If you are a leader, this includes being educated and developing an awareness of the skills associated with leading others including authenticity, accountability, empathy, humility, strategic agility, confidence and a keen ability to keep your eye on the pulse of the team’s engagement.


Can you be counted on to manage and honour the commitments you make?

Think about your track record and whether you follow through on what you say you’re going to do, then consider how others would rate you on your reliability. When a relationship of trust has been established, we can anticipate and predict how someone we trust will generally respond in a given situation. There should not be too many surprises when we are consistent with our behaviors, when we know we can count on someone, we trust their actions.


Do you present yourself with honesty and integrity? 

Sincerity is our assessment of someone’s character and basic integrity. This is the most difficult element of trust to build and also where we place the highest value on deciding whether to trust. Interestingly, sincerity is the hardest to recover from when damaged. Consider whether you are genuinely humble, this believability factor creates a connection with someone and is the bridge to a trusting relationship.

Ralph Waldo Emerson once wrote, “distrust is very expensive.”

Without trust there cannot be influence. Lack of trust ripples through the organization and manifests itself in failing employee engagement, low productivity, poor quality, high turnover and communication dysfunction including unhealthy conflict and team silos.

What influence do you have on whether a colleague, employee, client, student or customer trusts you and your organization?

Forcing Team Fun

Ever been on a team where you were required to attend what was intended to be an experience to bring your team together and build team spirit on a team that was a total dysfunctional disaster? I have.


Why do these forced experiences only make things worse?


The team is NOT READY – Teams can be in various stages of team development, yet many times the prescription is to throw team building at them to sort things out. A team that is at the peak of a major change, overwhelmed with workload, dealing with conflict, communicating poorly, working in a dysfunctional organizational cutlure or facing an absent or threatening leader will experience team building as a punishment, not a support.


The leader is INCOMPETENT – this is harsh…and true. Many leaders slap the team building bandaid on a team to check off their “well, I tried to make them better” box. It is difficult to acknowledge, but if a leader is simply managing tasks, avoiding and overwhelmed by team behavior issues, only giving direction not listening or coaching, pointing fingers, absent, or complaining about the organization and their peers, this leader is teaching their team to behave through their example. A team naturally takes on the direction and behaviors provided through their leader. This team will experience team building as a ‘just pretend we’re happy, grin and bear it so we can go back to our corners and collect a paycheck’.


The organizational culture is a DISASTER – and cannot support high-functioning teams. It’s tough to admit but this is a leadership issue at the highest level. This can be a result of being busy getting things done operationally to meet financial goals, sometimes it’s apathy or an attitude of ‘we’re doing fine, we’re meeting goals aren’t we?’, and in many situations it’s simply a matter of never having established an organizational vision that includes a culture or engagement measurement. This organization often has a high turnover rate and struggles for a reason ‘why’. Team building in this organization will fall flat and teams will find it pointless and a big time waster.


So what to do instead?


Take a good hard look at who you are as a leader and who is leading you. Here are some great questions to ask:

  • Does our organization support a culture of employee engagement?
  • What culture do I want to create on my team – am I leading by example?
  • Am I connecting with with my team?
  • Does my team respect me?
  • Am I listening to the concerns of team members and diagnosing to find solutions?
  • Does my team have the tools to do their job?
  • Do individuals on my team feel supported adequately?
  • How does my team want to learn and develop?
  • Is it time for team building? Leadership Coaching? Learning activities?


Ask yourself these questions and consult with your peers and leaders and even an HR or Learning and Development professional – get to the source of your needs before you force team fun!