What trust means for teams

It’s a truism that trust is the foundation of teamwork.

But trust is a big word. What do we really mean when we talk about trust?

First, trust exists within a context. The sort of trust that you need for a productive working relationship is different from the trust you need for a healthy marriage. And it’s certainly different from the trust you need on a ropes course (which is why that sort of team building activity seldom has much effect).

What you need for productive working relationships is trust that says:


I believe you are competent to do the work

I believe that if you have an issue with me, you’ll bring it up directly

with me, not talk behind my back.

I believe will follow through on commitments—or let me know when you need

to renegotiate.

I believe you have good intentions towards me and the team.

And there’s a prerequisite for trust: a person needs to have a capacity for trust.