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How To Build Trust With A New Team

Source | | Camille Preston, PhD, PCC

Assembling a new team is a phenomenally exciting process. In many cases, it is a chance to bring together people you have worked with on previous projects whom you admire and trust. But this can create a unique problem: While you may already trust everyone on the team, everyone on the team will not necessarily automatically trust each other.

When given an opportunity to build a new team from scratch, it can be especially easy to forget that your trusted colleagues may not be other people’s trusted colleague — at least not yet. Fortunately, there are several ways to share your trust with the entire team. The trick is to recognize that you need to do this — and do it before you throw yourself into work.  

The Cost Of Failing To Build Trust

While building trust may sound like a secondary consideration, the price of ignoring trust is high. Consider the results of a recent study carried out by Paul J. Zak, founding director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies and professor of economics, psychology and management at Claremont Graduate University.

In his study on the neuroscience of trust, Zak found that trust had a powerful effect on work performance, as self-reported by the subject. Respondents whose companies promoted trust through a wide range of best practices reported having more energy, being more engaged at work, more productive and less likely to seek a new job. In fact, those in high-trust situations reported 11% higher levels of empathy for co-workers, a 41% decrease in instances of depersonalizing workmates, and even 40% less burnout in their jobs, compared to those working in low-trust organizations. In general, they felt more aligned with their companies’ purpose and even closer to their colleagues.

While Zak’s findings certainly support the claim that building trust is critical to any team’s short- or long-term success, the real question is how does one build trust on a new team? After all, isn’t trust something that grows over time?

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