How to Restore or Improve Trust on a Team

Restore and improve trust on a team


  • How do you restore or improve trust on a team?


That doesn’t answer your question, and we rarely have the authority (or desire) to really change how the company runs…

Below is a discussion that I facilitate with teams…Please alter and use to match your style and needs.

If the trust was lost then it must have been there at some point, even a little bit. The people on the team know what that trust looked like. Perhaps they just need to be reminded of what they did to create that trust in the 1st place.

1. Have the team define TRUST in their own words. It may be useful to have 3 or 4 definitions if the team gets stuck.

2. Have the team come up with 2 to 3 REAL examples of when this trust that they defined has happened within the team or workplace

4. Draw on white board

Non-existent Trust = 0 ————————- 10 = World Class Trust

5. Ask each person to individually determine where the team and / or they are on that scale (as an organization OR as team OR with employees you have to frame that) They don’t share what level they chose it is subjective.

6. Ask each person to take 3 – 8 minutes and list what is working that is keeping them where they placed their trust number on that scale. Asking for ‘What is working to keep you at the number/level you chose?

7. Ask people to share what is working keeping them where they are – flip chart the good stuff.

8. Ask them where on this same scale they would have to be in order to say that enough progress has happened or that trust is good enough? Again they don’t share their level out loud, it is subjective.

9. Ask each person to take 3 – 8 minutes and list ‘What would be happening CLEAR and DISTINCT examples of how they would see this higher level of trust happening?’ YOU keep driving them into specifics, you are looking for tangible items that you could see and quickly recognize ‘Trust is higher’.

10. They share what they wrote, you capture the examples.

11. With all that, you ask them to get into groups of 3 or 4….and based upon what has happened and what they know, what is the teams next step to improve trust? Small step… You offer ideas and support for that.

Now What?

You just led the team through a discussion of what trust is, how they have seen trust happen, and what a higher level of trust would look like – that is really awesome!

Now with the ideas that the team created in step 11, you work with them to create short-term action plans and gain access to the resources they need to increase the team trust. Then you create a follow-up plan with the team and evaluate what worked, and the next small steps to improve team trust.


What do you think?

Is trust within an organization and team really lost due to poor organizational design and management structure? From the steps and ideas above, what can you use? How do you restore trust on your team?

team building leadership innovation expert michael cardus

michael cardus is create-learning

image by Tony Fischer Photography

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