By July 23, 2019November 1st, 2020No Comments

Whether you lead teams or are a member of teams, knowing how to engage fellow team members and get everyone moving in the same direction is vital to your success and that of your organization. Teams are organic beings with ebbs and flows of their own. Each member brings unique sets of skills, experiences, and perspectives. Getting such diverse people to understand, appreciate, and respect each other is largely founded on how they communicate. 

Having good communication protocols, systems, and habits in place build the foundation for productive teams and healthy workplaces.

Below is a collection of various blog articles I’ve written over the years on the topic of teams, team-building, and how to get teams connecting. Want more? Consider my workshop on “Team Talks”.

How to Build Trust and Engage Employees

Do you trust your boss? Your colleagues? Your employees? Do they trust you?

It was about 15 years ago I learned a lesson about trust. At the time, I was a newly appointed Director of Communication and Promotions and just getting to know my employee team. One of my employees was named Debbie (not her real name) and she was responsible for purchasing ads and developing certain promo campaigns for our national organization. I believe that I gave her lots of room to grow and try new things (that’s typically my approach as a boss). Perhaps her perception was different(?). Whenever I asked Debbie to explain her rationale underpinning her campaigns, she responded with, “Trust me”.

Trust her? I didn’t even know her. I didn’t know her modus operandi, her track record, or how her brain worked. We had no history together. All I had to go on was the numbers and the logic behind her actions. Without her explaining them to me, I didn’t know what they were because my crystal ball was broken and I couldn’t read her mind.

TIP: People can’t read your mind, only your actions.

You communicate what you think by the words you use and the actions you do. When I was asking Debbie to share with me what was in her mind so I could better understand (and explain to my boss) her actions, her “trust me” response didn’t feel right. It gave me nothing solid I could share with senior management in a board meeting. It took me some time, perhaps years of reflection, to figure out why it didn’t fit. This is what I discovered …

Building trust takes time.

The reason why it takes time is that, with time, you build history. With history, you can step back and see patterns. You come to know who is reliable or not. Who does what they say they’re going to do and who doesn’t. And that’s the key right there that builds trust. Here it is, and it’s so simple, it may shock you:

A simple secret to building trust: Do what you say you’re going to do.

That’s it. That’s all. It’s as simple as that. Just do what you say you’re going to do. That means when you say you’re going to call on a certain day, do it. If you agree to a meeting at a certain time, be punctual. If a deadline you’ve committed to is looming, carve out the time to get it done.

Although the principle of doing what you say you’re going to do is simple, rest assured–it’s not always easy. Life happens, things get in the way. You might commit to doing something out of obligation or guilt and lose your momentum before you actually do whatever it was you said you would. Another project may be pulling you away. You might be sick with the flu and lose several days. There are lots of reasons people don’t do what they say they’re going to do. You don’t have to be one of those people.

Instead, you can choose to flip that behaviour around and commit to what you know you will do, and do what you commit to. When you do this, you not only build trust–you also distinguish yourself from anyone else, including the competition. You make yourself stand out, and believe me, people will take notice.

It’s a rather sad comment on human behaviour that this simple and pure act of doing what you say you’re going to do builds trust because it’s so rare. It is, however, a wonderful opportunity for you.

©2021 Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Until next time, here’s to …
Better communication, Better business, Better life,
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author
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Post your comments and reactions below. There are no right or wrong responses, just honest, respectful ones. I’d love to hear your opinion. What about this article resonated with YOU?

Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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