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Take This Team Trust Quiz

3 Reasons You’ll Benefit From A Mentorship

Take This Team Trust Quiz

They may not ask for it, but everyone knows when it’s missing.

Next week: Tips for Building Team Trust

Ever had a cappuccino without froth, or a deli sandwich without a pickle? It might be pretty good, but without each and every component in place, it’s just… meh. Companies that operate in a low trust environment have a similar shortcoming: they may have all the window dressing: stellar benefits, competitive pay, a ping pong table… but the magic mojo that everyone is looking for at work is simply missing. High trust environments encourage innovation, promote engagement, and result in employees sticking around to be a part of successful outcomes.

You might be thinking to yourself, “Isn’t team trust the responsibility of our team’s #leader?” The answer is a resounding YES – but we know that it takes a lot more than a title to build trust, and not everyone in authority knows how to build trust (remember the Peter Principle?). When the boss isn’t bringing the mojo, you must rely on your own trust-building skills, because you don’t have to be the team leader to improve your work environment. You can check out our blog on soft skills for more on leading from behind. Review the concepts below to quickly assess your team’s trust level:

Our Meeting Ran Long… and It Was Awesome

Meetings where trust is high sometimes go long inadvertently, because everyone participates, ideas flow naturally into solutions and valuable exploratory dialogue. Low trust team meetings sometimes go long because one or two people are sucking up all the oxygen in the room. Look around to see if everyone is weighing in, and if your leaders are actively inviting everyone to provide insight.. Assuming there’s no one at the table actively chopping down ideas at the root, you can promote trust by asking your less engaged peers and reports to offer up their ideas and opinions. If they persist in holding back, your gentle inquiry about it after the meeting will go a long way to build trust.

Forget Yesterday; We Have Work To Do

Your team burned the midnight oil on a project for weeks, and you finally knocked it out of the park. Was the achievement celebrated at your next team meeting, or was it simply a setup for your next task? Low trust teams tend to focus on the immediate task, neglecting to take even a moment to savor the wins, give accolades, and bask in the victory. Curiously, the same holds true for the losses. There’s much to be learned when a project goes sideways, and teams that enjoy high trust take the time to explore both the successes and the shortcomings, to recognize what happened that prompted the outcome, be it good or bad.

Go Forth and Conquer

Delegation is trust in action. We depend on others to execute a task and meet deadlines so that we may do the same and move the project forward. Look around the table to see if the work is being delegated routinely and evenly throughout your team. Some coworkers actually hoard work, which prevents others from taking ownership of an aspect of a project, and from truly engaging in the team activity. You might even hear someone tell you that they’re too busy to delegate! High trust teams handle the easy part of delegation – the assignment – but also the more challenging back end: the deadline. They feel a sense of obligation to deliver for the team, and perform at their best. A common source of accountability in teams is less about the team as a whole, and more about the avoidance of the team leader’s wrath.

Now, consider the concepts you just reviewed and assign a point to each using this rating scale:

Very Low Trust


Somewhat Low Trust


Right in the Middle


Somewhat High Trust


Very High Trust


17-20 points: Kudos! Your team is built like a cheerleader pyramid.
13-16 points: Positive trust, but room for improvement. Tune in next week.
8-12 points: Your team has work to do. Consider bringing it up at your next meeting.
3-7 points: Low trust environment. Read next week’s blog aloud to your team!

Next week, we’ll cover trust-building techniques that will help you deliver your team to the next level – regardless of your position. Until then, take a few more moments at your next team meeting to identify your potential partners in crime: coworkers who are already “leaning in” and are ready to embrace trust-building efforts. Once implemented, you and your crew will be ready to make the most of the new environment on every level!

Mark Brodbeck, MSW

Director of Marketing at eMentorConnect. Passionate about people intent on elevating others, and other examples of enlightened self-interest. Frank Sinatra said it best: 'It's one world, pal. We're all neighbors.'