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August 22, 2023

Building Trust and Effective Team Communication in Times of Change

Categories:  Teaming | Leadership
iStock-1170077596 (tini)
No quality or characteristic is more important than trust
~Patrick Lencioni, Overcoming the Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Field Guide for Leaders, Managers, and Facilitators

In today's dynamic business landscape, organizations are no strangers to change. We understand first-hand the importance of fostering effective team communication amidst these transformations.

It used to be the case that employers were more trusted than our government. With record low levels of trust in the government, that’s not hard to believe. However, we are seeing that employers are also starting to lose that level of trust.

That’s why we want to explore how trust impacts communication and delve into strategies to build trust and enhance communication within your teams. We will draw inspiration from Forbes' recent insights on trust and Pew Research Center's findings on trust in America. We aim to equip you with the tools to create a culture of trust and open communication, promoting your team's success.

The Link between Trust and Communication

Trust serves as the bedrock of effective team communication. Forbes' research emphasizes that trust is a critical factor that directly impacts an organization's ability to communicate effectively. When trust is high, team members are more open to sharing ideas, expressing concerns, and collaborating.

On the other hand, low trust leads to communication breakdowns, misunderstandings, and a reluctance to voice opinions, hindering progress and adaptability during times of change.

Understanding the State of Trust in America

Before we explore how to foster trust within your organization, let's take a glimpse at Pew Research Center's findings on trust in America. According to their research, trust in institutions has been declining over recent years, including trust in the government, media, and each other.

This erosion of trust also has implications for businesses, as it permeates into internal relationships and team dynamics.

Strategies to Build Trust and Improve Team Communication

Lead by Example

As an executive, your actions speak louder than words. Demonstrating honesty, transparency, and vulnerability establishes a culture of trust from the top down. Share your vision, challenges, and aspirations with your team to build a sense of unity and trust in your leadership.

Remember that leadership changes as your role changes. We wrote a blog post about that recently.

Active Listening

Encourage open dialogue and active listening within your teams. Provide a safe space for team members to share their thoughts and concerns. Demonstrating genuine interest in their input boosts morale and fosters a sense of trust and inclusion.

Transparency and Communication

During times of change, increased transparency is crucial. Keep your teams informed about organizational changes, challenges, and milestones. Lack of communication breeds uncertainty and hampers trust, but transparency builds a sense of security and helps align your team toward common goals.

That transparency can bleed into your own struggles with burnout. Remember, executives experience burnout too.

Address Trust Issues Directly

If your teams have trust issues, don't hesitate to address them head-on. Listen to concerns, acknowledge mistakes, and take concrete steps to rebuild trust. Coaching and training can be valuable tools in helping individuals and teams develop better communication and trust-building skills.

We talk about this more in our blog on team dynamics and The Five Behaviors.

Embrace Constructive Feedback

Encourage a culture of constructive feedback where team members can openly share their perspectives without fear of retribution. Constructive feedback fosters growth, improves communication, and enhances trust within the team.

In fact, we’ve found that resistance to change is extremely detrimental, especially when it could be constructive change.

Recognize and Celebrate Achievements

Acknowledging individual and team achievements boosts morale and reinforces a positive culture. Celebrating success together strengthens relationships and fosters an environment of trust and camaraderie.

Trust is the foundation of real teamwork (there is nothing touchy-feely about this). ~Patrick Lencioni

Trust in the Workplace

In conclusion, effective team communication is essential for any organization, especially during times of change. Building trust is the cornerstone of successful communication and teamwork. Embrace transparency, active listening, and constructive feedback to nurture a culture of trust, ultimately ensuring your organization thrives in the face of change.

If you need help re-establishing trust, reach out to us.


James and Lori

James Jackman & Lori Heffelfinger

Cultivating Leaders & Aligning Teams to Drive Sustainable, Scalable Business Results
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