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5 things you can do to build trust and stronger relationships with your team

I’ve spent a lot of my career working with lots of different teams trying to solve lots of different complex problems.

To deliver on their goals and perform to a high level, it’s essential to work in a culture of trust and one that looks to support each other no matter the situation. I’ve mostly found it’s the little things and little moments that count in building an environment for continued success.

Here’s some advice/ideas/thoughts on how you can achieve this.

Listen with intent

How often do you really listen to what other people are saying to you? I don’t mean listening until you can wait to jump in and get your point across – I’m talking about really listening!

Allowing your team to feel heard and understood is incredibly important. Sometimes, your 1:1’s don’t even need you to speak. Just listen, learn what’s going on and see how you can help.

Share feedback – little, often and helpful

Not enough people share ongoing feedback enough, and when I say feedback I don’t just mean bad stuff. Too many people see feedback as a negative thing but that’s because we’ve allowed it to be too often used that way in so many workplaces.

We don’t want people to fear feedback!

It’s an opportunity to tell people what they’re doing well and of course to share development points so they can get better. Change your outlook on feedback, give it often in small doses to guide your people and help them grow. Don’t be that leader who only shares feedback at performance reviews or when it’s altogether too late.

Recognise emotions

Again, another misunderstood and often not recognised factor in building trust and strong relationships with others are emotions. Which really is surprising when you think about it.

We’re all human, and we’re all driven by emotions…and…guess what? emotions drive our behaviours.

Ignoring the emotional states of your team can be a real killer in building trust and building an environment for high performance. We can only do our best work when we regulate our emotions. Get closer to your team, learn how they work and help build an environment that supports the emotions they need to feel to be successful.

Be human, share your vulnerabilities

I get this might be hard for a lot of people, yet we are all human after all.

You as a leader will feel and have no doubt felt a lot of the things that your team do in their day to day too. You don’t have to put yourself in a position where your ability to lead is questioned but you most certainly can show your human and don’t have the answers to everything.

Lead don’t “manage”

I personally have a big problem with the word “manager”, it’s always sounded so sinister to me. Like someone who is installed to control others.

The word leader and the notion to lead is terminology that I can get behind. I share this as it brings context to my next point on leading and not just “managing”. What I mean by this is to build real trust, you have to get down in the trenches to help your people achieve what you’re asking of them.

Don’t be that “manager” who set targets, asks people to do what you’ve never done and has no interest of supporting them in anyway. You’ll just build a culture of mistrust and low performance.

Before you go… 👋

If you like my writing and think “Hey, I’d like to hear more of what this guy has to say” then you’re in luck.

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