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  • Building Trust With Your Team

  • Fabio Giraldo

    Trust is a fundamental building block for any relationship. In a professional setting, trust has to be the pillar from which you forge a long lasting partnership and coalition. Trust is a construct that we work on over time. It is comprised of communication (both written and spoken), behavior and body language. This construct can take several years to develop and can be destroyed in an instant.

    It is imperative to value the necessity of trust in a professional setting, failure to do so, will lead to hindering the development of trust among your team(s). Often times managers and employees are enveloped in competing with their peers, and while competition is healthy, excess competitiveness could eclipse the development of trust amongst your team(s). We are all here to build a career and make a mark on the industry we are in, while gaining as much experience as possible. If you actively engage your subordinates, peers and executives team members in a manner which builds trust, your experience will not only be fulfilling and meaningful, but it will also be productive to your career. Trust has to be nurtured, fostered and reinforced daily. Below I will lay out a few simple ways in which you can build trust at three different levels of an organization.


    1. Set expectations up front, and be transparent with those expectations. This will align strategies from commencement. Team’s cannot act as such if they have no Idea what is expected of them.

    2. Be consistent. If you lay out expectations, you must maintain those consistently and fairly across the board. Failure to due so will destroy trust, as people will perceive this as being disingenuous.

    3. Give your subordinates the benefit of the doubt, when conflict arises (and believe me it always will). Make sure not to pick sides. You need to give all parties involved the benefit of the doubt. Do your research and gather as much data as possible before coming to a conclusion.


    1. Collaborate. Your peers face the same exact challenges that you do, reach out to them and share best practices. Remember two minds are better than one. A collaborative think tank will not only resolve the issue more quickly; it will also aide in preemptively planning for potential roadblocks.

    2. Do not compete or compare yourself to your peers. This type of thinking is counter- productive. Instead, focus on your own efforts. “Sally got a raise?” “Good for Sally.” Instead of being jealous work  harder, drive value and earn you own raise.

    3. Manage up. Instead of throwing someone under the bus, try lending a helping hand first. Be proactive and help them with their issue. If someone else notices and asks what’s going on, do not respond by saying “oh so and so had a problem.” Instead simply say “We are working through an issue as a team.”


    Executive Team:

    1. Be direct and concise. Executives have a demanding workload and are constantly being pulled in multiple directions at all times. This is something to be cognizant of when approaching them in emails or in conversations. Plan what you’re going to say to them ahead of time, be prepared. It may be a good idea to write down some bullet points to keep your thoughts organized. Above all else, do not ramble on. Rambling will take away from the point you are trying to make.

    2. Have a well thought out plan. Executives are always dealing with problems. Don’t be the guy that simply brings them a problem without putting some thought into a possible solution. Presenting your problem with solutions will show them you are at least making an attempt to solve your own issue.

    3. Never point the finger down your chain of command. If there is a problem with one of your team members, it is your problem. Remember, this is your team. Nothing shows a greater lack of leadership than when a manager points the finger at a subordinate. The Executive Management Team (EMT) has empowered you to run your department, so blaming a subordinate only exposes your inability to properly manage them. Instead own the problem. Take the “I am ultimately responsible for my team” approach and you will never go astray. This thought process shows ownership and leadership, two character traits that the EMT looks for.


    Adhering to these suggestions is a good path to follow on the road to building trust. Being consistent is key. You have to take these suggestions and stick to them. I can assure you that if you make an honest commitment to building trust at all levels of your organization, you will be able to achieve more that you ever thought possible.

    Amber Kain
    Chief Scribe

    Fabio – These are all great points. I’m definitely going to use a few of these with my own team.

    I think the below visual helps to sum up some of the key points here as well.

    Ana Santiesteban


    This is a great take on trust and strongly agree with you that it is built over time but can be lost instantly.

    I took away being proactive and helping to create solutions to issues.  As well as adding the mantra “I am ultimately responsible for my team”.

    Thank you,


    Catherine Bailey
    Senior Project Manager

    Collaborating really helps building trust and why I love working with the SE team. Great information noted!

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