Trust in teams is essential for sharing of information, new ideas and innovation, effective collaborations, and optimal productivity. Businesses may not immediately recognise the absence of trust, but when you see teams where communication, innovation, and collaboration lacking, it is often clear that trust is the key element missing.

Unfortunately, even if you consider yourself to be “trustworthy” this does not mean everyone on your team will find it easy to trust you, and while it’s important as a business owner or manager to have your team trust in you, they also need to trust in each other.

What can you do to build trust?

Trust is defined as the ‘firm belief in the reliability, truth, or ability of someone or something’.

So, reliability is a significant factor in building trust, and one of the 4 key behaviours that are identified in the Trust Inside model developed by Integro.  It is the behaviours that we consistently display that build trust between co-workers and with employees, and this model classifies those 4 key behaviours as:

  • Acceptance,
  • Openness,
  • Congruence, and
  • Reliability.

Across your team, you will see each person has varying ability to achieve these behaviours. Some may find it more difficult to accept others (be less judgemental or critical), remain open and receptive (sharing knowledge), be congruent in their words and actions (do what they have said they will do) and for others it may be a challenge to reliably keep commitments and produce their best work.

These varying abilities to display these trust-building behaviours, doesn’t mean your team can not be trusted, and is important to acknowledge that the behaviours that one person finds easier, is likely to also be the one behaviour that they are seeking from another in order to develop trust in that person.

Understanding behaviours through DiSC

Some of these tendencies to can be explained through understanding a person’s DiSC profle, their preferred work style or workplace personality profile. To learn more about the DiSC model and the different DiSC styles you can read our article on the topic here.

DiSC is a model that looks at 4 primary types of people – those that favour Dominance, Influence, Steadiness or Conscientiousness. Of course people can often a blend of 2 styles, however the simplicity of this model enables people to generally understand themselves and others more easily in terms of their communication and work preferences.

The relationship between trust-building behaviours and DiSC styles

Depending on a person’ natural and preferred working style, they will find some of the trust-building behaviours either challenging or more natural for them. Interestingly there seems to be an inverse relationship between the primary DiSC profile type and the behaviours that build trust.

For example, a D-style person will find it easier to display congruence, as they tend to be able to express concerns or ideas in a very direct and straightforward manner, however, accepting others’ shortfalls or weaknesses, and recognising their strengths may be a real challenge for D-type personalities.

Inversely, a person who primarily falls within the Steadiness quadrant of the DiSC model will generally find accepting others an easy task, but being direct and straightforward more challenging as it has the potential to create conflict or disharmony. S-types may skirt around issues, or not bring concerns forward as they are concerned this may upset the apple cart. To a D-type though, this inability to be direct and straightforward, could lead them to questioning whether they can trust the person.

How to build trust, even if you don’t know someone’s DiSC style

Even if you’re unsure of your DiSC style or that of someone in your team, when looking to build trust with others, you’ll need to display the behaviours that are their natural strengths. For example, if you observe that someone is generally open and receptive, by being open and receptive yourself, you will more easily be trusted by that person. If you can be direct and straightforward with someone who you notice is often a straight shooter and tells it like it is, they will appreciate that approach, and in turn, trust you.

Some people need to see others reliably keep commitments in order to trust, so if you notice someone is always punctual, and delivers their work on time, be sure to reciprocate these behaviours by not arriving late to meetings and fulfilling your commitments. Someone who is accepting and rarely in conflict with others, is likely to trust others who can avoid being judgemental, and criticising others, and instead acknowledge the positives that they and others on the team can bring.

Trust in teams is an important yet complex factor in building a positive team culture and making progress in achieving business goals and objectives. If you’ve noticed there are areas where your team is not communicating well, not bringing forth concerns or new ideas, or not collaborating effectively, then you may have a lack of trust in your team.

If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you understand your team, and develop that important element of trust, get in touch with us.