Team Building and Trust A Five-Step Model

When it comes to team building, nothing is more important than trust; it's the base upon which everything else is built. And yet, for most of us, trust is an elusive entity, an abstract behavior we all wand to cultivate but find difficult to systematically develop and maintain. Luckily, there's a splendid little primer out there by Hyler Bracey, Ph.D. that provides a practical model for trust building that really works.

The book is Building Trust How to Get It! How to Keep It! and the model looks like this:

Step 1: Be Transparent refers to your ability to render yourself readable and vulnerable. When people talk about you, do they say, “That Jim, h's a poker player — he really keeps his cards close to the vest, or do they remark, “Mary's an open book. With her, it's always what you see is what you get. In short, can people easily read your feelings, thoughts, emotions and intentions?

Step 2: Be Responsive refers to your willingness to give and receive feedback honestly, consciously and with care. In other words, when people talk about you, do they note, “I can bring anything to you, even anger and frustration, and you'll treat it with respect and honor?” Being responsive means letting people know how they're doing, both good and bad. No one can trust a leader who withholds feedback!

Step 3: Use Caring refers to your capacity to deal with people so that they know you truly care about them and their welfare. In other words, do people say, “You really make an effort to hear and understand me, to tell me the truth with compassion, to acknowledge my potential, and to look for my positive intentions?”

Step 4: Be Sincere refers to your skills at acting without deceit or pretense. In other words, do people say, “Your actions always match your words, and you really avoid lying and gossiping?” Nothing tears down trust faster than learning that someone has been talking about you behind your back.

Step 5: Be Trustworthy goes one step beyond Sincerity and refers to your acceptance of the consequences of your words and actions. It's about being true to your word. In other words, do people say, “You only make agreements you intend to keep, you give early notice if a promise must be broken, and you clean up broken agreements?” To be trustworthy, you need to do what you say you're going to do, again and again, over time.

Keep these five steps in mind and you'll soon find your team drawing closer together, and building trust!

This guest post is by Dave Blum, the founder of Dr. Clue Treasure Hunts. Since 1995, Dr. Clue has produced over 700 team-building treasure/scavenger hunt programs in 110 locations world-wide, including New York, Chicago, London, Paris, San Francisco, Jerusalem and even Dubai. You can read more about Dr. Clue's facilitated treasure hunt programs (and DIY puzzle/networking kits) at www.drclue.com

About Denise O'Berry

Denise O'Berry is President of The Small Business Edge Corp, a small business consulting firm. A small business owner since 1996, Denise understands the challenges facing small business. She's lived them herself and helped hundreds of clients work through the frustrations, fears, and joys of owning a small business. Denise is the author of Small Business Cash Flow: Strategies for Making Your Business a Financial Success, a practical guide about keeping the cash in your business - where it belongs. Find more resources and tips at deniseoberry.com and askteamdoc.com