Online College Courses for Credit

2 Tutorials that teach Building Trust
Take your pick:
Building Trust

Building Trust

Author: Kelly Nordstrom

This lesson goes over ways to develop trust within teams.

See More
Fast, Free College Credit

Developing Effective Teams

Let's Ride
*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

29 Sophia partners guarantee credit transfer.

312 Institutions have accepted or given pre-approval for credit transfer.

* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 27 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.


Source: Woman with blond hair, public domain; Woman with brown hair, public domain,; Man with pink tie, public domain,; Woman w/red hair, public domain,; Young man black tshirt, public domain,; woman with short dark hair, public domain,

Video Transcription

Download PDF

Thank you for joining ME for this tutorial on building trust. Today we're going to explore ways to develop trust within teams, so let's take a look at our objectives. We're going to talk about why is trust important, and we're going to talk about how communication plays a role in this. How does a person model trustworthy behavior? How can trust be improved within a team? This is something every team can use. And what are some team-building activities that can be designed to help increase trust?

So the importance of trust-- let's take a look at a team here that we have developed. And you can see we have someone here in the center of it. It's important to note that trust between team members is absolutely critical for a strong, efficient team. The result is high commitment and efficiency in communication and productivity. So there is a strong connection between trust and communication.

When people trust each other, they're more open to communicate about everything, whether it's an obstacle or issues or great news. And on the flip side of that, lack of trust can put some constraints on communications and lead to members holding back, not wanting to discuss issues, concerns, or even good news. And that can impact productivity. And strong communication always increases trust.

And of course, if communication is ineffective, there can be a lot of misinterpretation. There can be some damaged relationships. And when we work in a team, we tend to observe each other. We interpret each other's behavior, whether it's in-person, virtual, a screencast, the tone, everything comes into play.

And when a team works well, we can accept the credentials of each other. We can accept the authority that other people have. We accept each other's roles within the team.

Now, I mentioned that we have observed each other's behavior. This can take time. A person can't gain trust of their team in one day. People on the team need to see consistency before they can learn to really trust the role of this person within the team. And when a relationship is damaged, it can take a long time of consistent modeling of trustworthy behavior.

So what does modeling trustworthy behavior look like in action? This person in the middle here has some strange relationships where there's a lack of trust. Let's take for example this person here. Let's say in the last project he was leading the project, perhaps the deadlines were moving and he didn't communicate well.

So there's a new project coming up. Now he is going to make sure that he communicates clearly and directly to this person what is exactly expected of her role. He will model and uphold the standards of the company to make sure that she sees that he's committed to this. He will demonstrate fairness and lack of bias. And he will also listen and he will gain perspective of this person. Her perspective means a lot to this project to make sure that they can bring this project to completion.

This is why trust is so important. Everyone is interdependent. Everyone's role means something. A team has to trust that each person will be accountable. And in order to do that, that communication needs to be clear so they know what they're accountable for. So it's important to prevent damaged relationships. It's important to have consistent communication, to identify and communicate any concerns that may damage that relationship.

So now that we know the importance of trust within a team, how can we improve trust? So you can see here I have a simple table of trust and distrust. These are things you can do to enhance trust, and these are warning signs that you may be on the road to distrust and losing that trust of your team.

So clear communication to the team, including the role goals of each person. If it's unclear, people don't understand what they're accountable for, just as I mentioned earlier. Frequent meetings to discuss issues, obstacles, status, check-ins, feedback, this reduces uncertainty. This is a way to prevent mistrust of others, and it's a way to enhance the trust of others. Consistent feedback, consistent check-ins, this helps earn the trust of others.

On the flip side of that is blame, lack of check-ins, lack of feedback that leads to team members failing and even on a more severe note having someone blame another team member. Instead of blame, it's much more effective to model that trust in your team members. If you model that trust, people will see that and start modeling it for themselves. It becomes contagious.

Now, I mentioned that open communication is an effective way of earning trust, so it's important to encourage team members to communicate when they run into obstacles or issues or they have concerns. When they do this, it's important to maintain that neutral environment for that person. On the flip side of that is bias, unfair judgment in favor of or against an idea or a person.

It's important to stay connected with your team inside the professional environment as well as informal gatherings and personal communication, getting to know people. On the other side of that is feeling disconnected, removed from your team. And on that note of staying connected is the idea of team-building activities.

This establishes comfort within a team. People are comfortable to communicate. They learn how to trust each other outside of the environment of deadlines and pressure. These are low-stakes activities that involve relying on each other and understanding how they can communicate effectively with each other.

It builds trust quickly. This is ideal for new teams, or in the case of a team that works together but they're very independent of each other's roles and there's less communication and less comfort to bring up issues and concerns. And these team-building activities are meant to be fun, outside of the environment of professional deadlines and pressure.

I can recall a few team-building activities where we had to build our building out of LEGOs together. And we all had to communicate with each other what we wanted, one thing that we wanted on this LEGO building. They're meant to be fun and a way to connect people outside of that pressure.

So let's take a look at our objectives. Did we meet our objectives? Why is trust important? Well, we talked about the presence of trust that leads to more open communication. People are more comfortable with each other when there is trust. They can communicate obstacles, issues, concerns. We also talked about how trust can be contagious among team members, as well as that willingness to voice their concerns and perspectives.

And how does a person model trustworthy behavior? We went through an example of how communicating expectations clearly, and maintaining and upholding those company standards are so important, and gaining perspective of others. We talked about improving trust within a team. We took a look at a table on trust and distrust just to see the two sides of the coin and so you can see those warning signs when you may be on the road to receiving lack of trust within your team.

And of course, we talked about team-building activities. And this is a way for newly developed teams or teams that work independently to come together and learn how to communicate comfortably.

So this concludes our tutorial for today. Thank you for joining me, and I hope to see you again soon.