Route to the Top: Nine ways to build new-team trust

How can you create the right kind of relationship with your new team?

Last Updated: 31 Aug 2010

Create connections. Give natural synergy a nudge by matching the tempo of your new colleague's voice, nodding when they nod or imitating their stance. But don't overdo it.

Be bland. During your team's founding weeks, don't compete with egos or eccentrics. Irreverent statements and passionate outbursts may impress some, but an even temper, considered contributions and an inclusive approach win the trust of many.

Define your direction. The employees of a fledgling Fujifilm were quickly united by a simple aim: 'Kill Kodak.' Develop a mission statement together early, then set benchmark goals to make it happen. Shared accountability accelerates trust.

Ditch the niceties. Forging a bond with awaydays and Friday drinks? Don't bother. Organisational behaviour specialist Roderick Kramer says delivering on professional promises builds trust quicker. Quit small talk and start hitting deadlines.

Banish ambiguity. Misunderstandings breed mistrust. Reach an agreed way of working. Clarify 'hygiene factors' (hours, sickness), communication (face-to-face meetings, Skype) and other customs (problem-solving, conflict management).

Open up. Struggling with your budget? Ashamed of your Excel ineptitude? Admitting weaknesses to your team deepens intimacy and helps you develop complementary skill sets.

Let go. Former GE chair Jack Welch said: 'If you pick the right people and give them the opportunity to spread their wings, you almost don't have to manage them.' Nervous new team leaders: relinquish control and watch staff prove their worth.

Share the weight. Whether it's a missed target, an angry client or a failed negotiation, treat individuals' mistakes as team issues and deal with the fallout together.

Be patient. Developing trust takes time.

The Mind Gym: Relationships is published by Little, Brown at £12.99 -

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Route to the Top: Nine ways to build new-team trust

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