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Mayes Wilson & Associates

Are you seeking trust in your team?

Sara Wilson, CPCC, ACC |

Trust takes investment.

Leaders I coach frequently talk about wanting more trust in their working relationships–both from their bosses and from those they supervise.

“I want my ____ to trust me.” A simple statement, yet loaded and layered with expectations, hope and, frankly, effort that is required.

We know that having trust in people we work with is beneficial. Studies show it boosts employee engagement, openness and motivation. A team of researchers led by Paul J. Zak, director of the Center for Neuroeconomics Studies at Claremont Graduate University, found that trust in the workplace had a positive impact on everything from company performance to employee turnover.

“Trust is like the air we breathe,” Warren Buffett once said. “When it is present, nobody really notices. But when it is absent, everybody notices.”

If you want to have trust across your team, you have to make it a priority. There it is – the INVESTMENT. There are many management approaches that support trust, but let’s start at the beginning: Invest in learning about your people. (Spoiler alert – future blogs on trust in the queue)

Here are some questions to discuss trust

I recommend discussing these questions with your team, including your boss. Keep in mind that we all have different lived experiences that impact our ability to trust.

  1. Ask a person to think about 1-2 relationships where they have a mutual high level of trust. What supports that feeling of trust?
  2. How were those elements developed?
  3. How are they maintained or strengthened? What would cause a loss of trust?

Team members getting to know each other better also helps build trust

Consider starting off staff meetings with one of these questions for the next six months.

  • What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever received?
  • What is the nickname of your home town?
  • What was your nickname as a kid; what nickname would you give yourself now?
  • What person, dead or alive, would you most like to have a conversation with?
  • How do you most like to be recognized or thanked for your contributions?
  • What is something–an accomplishment, hobby, etc.–that most people don’t know about you?

Ahead of any meeting, send out the questions to help introverts (and planners) better prepare.

Take time to have a conversation about trust and just to get to know your team as individuals. Trust has many layers and requires time and effort to build. Good luck!

I’ll continue the trust topic in my next Ripple. In the meantime, email me about your conversation at

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