How to Build a Dream Team

How to Build a Dream Team

Whether you work in a small partnership or a large department or are a business owner, you work with people. One of the keys to success is building trust with your colleagues… or else your future success could be blocked at every turn.

Trusting relationships breed confidence in your ideas and plans and earn buy-in from those on your team. When they trust you, they know you are the person to turn to with the issues that confront them. And you are more likely to be counted on to handle privileged information.

Today, let’s look at some steps you can take and habits you can build to become an essential, highly trusted leader.

  1. Be Consistent

One of the first steps is to be consistent. Consistent in the enforcement of a policy or the treatment of individuals.

At the first whiff of favoritism, all of your credibility could be lost, and any other efforts you have made to build trust will have been wasted.

This practice extends to how you talk about people within your professional circle. The benefits of building people up are generally well-known, but when you talk negatively about a colleague behind their back, you send the message to listeners that the public face you put on for the group does not reflect how you really think.

“People need to know that they are dealing with the true you,” says David DeSteno, a professor of psychology at Northeastern University. If someone finds you criticizing a colleague behind their back, “they’ll assume that as soon as they leave the room you aren’t treating them well either.”

  1. Give Credit Where Credit Is Due

Taking credit for someone else’s ideas or work is a fast ticket to unpopularity. Take the opposite approach and look for opportunities to highlight the ideas that others have brought to the table and make sure they are recognized by name.

Many people crave true validation for their work and giving it when it’s truly earned fosters gratification. Conversely, if you have made a mistake, own up to it and don’t try to push the blame off on someone else. This is part of an overall pattern of humility that will serve you well and show others that you are honest with yourself and others.

  1. Be Transparent

Further, “Be transparent in your decision-making,” advises Emily Lundberg of She continues, “Honesty is at the core of trustworthiness. People trust leaders who give them the whole truth and only spare the details that are absolutely confidential.”

This highlights the need to be transparent with your team about the health of the company, plans, strategies and threats. If you’re not, co-workers will assume that you are operating from a hidden agenda.

Moreover, share what is going into your decision-making process and provide complete and accurate information. If you overplay a positive spin, savvy team members will feel that they are being manipulated and suspect that you have something to hide.

  1. Connect the Dots

Jaime Carter brings up another great point on the Insperity blog: “Connect the dots for people. Facilitation builds trust because you’re helping team members make alliances in other departments and broaden their skills.”

This can be accomplished in a number of ways. Simply asking others what they need in order to do their jobs better is a great start. Connect them with the right resources so that they can confidently give you their best work.

  1. Keep Your Promises

Next, it seems obvious to say that you should keep your promises to your team members…

But let’s take this idea a step further: Be realistic about the promises you make.

Some leaders don’t want to disappoint their co-workers, and some are intimidated if they feel that they can’t deliver, but the better bet is to be upfront about what you are truly able to come through with.

  1. Do the Right Thing

Additionally, simply doing the right thing earns you credibility points. Lead with integrity. If you consistently model taking an ethical approach both inside and outside of your company, people will count on you to treat them fairly.

However, if they see you acting like a shark in your dealings with others, they will assume that you would do the same to them.

  1. Build People Up

Building people up is another practice that should be at the forefront of your mind, and this does not just include praise and recognition but extends to being sensitive to what is going on in their lives.

Are they a single parent, coping with a chronic medical condition, or perhaps caring for an elderly family member?

Having some flexibility and understanding with someone who is going through a rough patch will earn loyalty in addition to trust.

  1. Don’t Micromanage

Finally, you earn trust by showing it, so ditch the micromanagement, advises Carter.

She adds, “It can be tempting to think you know the best way to perform a task. In reality, people perform better when they’re allowed to get a job done in their own way.”

To accomplish this, don’t be afraid to delegate, and allow for a certain amount of autonomous decision making. Encourage team members to use their creativity, and to hold one another accountable for the group’s vision and standards.

The bottom line is that your team needs to feel like you are on their side. Inspiration and motivation are only part of this equation and are uniquely achieved in an environment of trust.

Align your words with your actions and make sure that both reflect your stated values and priorities. The effort you put into building trust with your team can result in some of the best dividends you reap.

With purpose,

Dr. Patrick Gentempo

Patrick Gentempo