Building Trust Within Your Teams

There are four fundamental requirements for building “Dream Teams”. All team members must have trust in each other, a common vision, meaningful planning practices and collective implementation strategies.


Trust is always conditional and real trust takes a long time to build, but as you know trust can be destroyed in seconds. Building a dream team requires that you start to build the fundamentals of trust as listed below, between all team members.

1)    They must quickly realize that each team member will not put their own self interest ahead of the needs of the team.

2)    Each team member must be able to trust everyone within their team to behave within the bounds of social norms.

3)    They must be able to trust each team member to deliver their fair share, so that the team can achieve its goals.

4)    Every team member must know that each team member will only act with integrity at all times.

5)    Each team member must know that their leadership will always act in their best interests.

6)    Everyone within the team must trust that every other team member will always try to perform at their best.

Trust is built between team members by observation and by taking personal responsibility for delivering on your commitments. As team members continually experience positive results and see the integrity within the team, the level of trust will grow and results will improve daily.

One of the best trust building exercises that will help teams increase their trust levels and accelerate trust building within their teams. Is to carry out exercises where individuals feel challenged, yet their comfort is ensured by a fellow team member.

Team Building Activities

These exercises allow each team member to:

1)    Develop a feeling where they can rely on each other

2)    Co-operating with and experiencing teamwork within the team

3)    Taking thoughtful risks, where a fellow team member offers support

4)    Experiencing believable communication between team members.

Trust Walk Exercise

This is a great trust building exercise, by one of the top time management training experts in the field of time management, which helps team members build trust. This exercise is best conducted outside on landscaped gardens or in an area with steps or an uneven surface. A minimum of two facilitators are required to ensure a safe environment is maintained at all times.

The team is divided into two groups, in two lines facing each other. Participants are told to select a partner for a trust building exercise and to stand opposite them. It is a natural tendency for team members to select someone they already trust. The one line of participants then blindfolds the other.

When the blindfold is in place the one facilitator explains the exercise to the participants. The sighted participant is to lead the blindfolded team member around for between 7 to eight minutes. They are to only use only touch to guide the person around. The blindfolded person can ask questions, but the sighted person cannot speak they must guide the blindfolded person with appropriate touch only.

The sighted group is encouraged to lead their charges up and down steps, through shrubs, right up to light poles and other objects. They must allow the blindfolded participant to touch these objects. Keep reminding the sighted group that it is a trust building exercise and that only non verbal communication is allowed.

The more perceived risk the blindfolded person will experience and the safer the sighted person can make the blindfolded person feel. The better will be the results for building trust.

During this explanation the other facilitator changes the people around so that they are now with someone not of their choosing. This allows for a great reveal when the blindfolded members remove their blindfolds and they realize that they were in fact led by a different team member. This allows for a great surge in energy and trust, between team members. After about 7 to 8 minutes the exercise is stopped and the participants are encouraged to remove their blindfolds.

The second team members are then blindfolded and they are led around by their sighted partners. After about two minutes ask the sighted participants to switch to another blindfolded team member.  It’s all right to switch more than once so that everyone has the opportunity to lead at least two different people. Explain that when you give the signal they are to lead the team member back into the meeting area and seat them in a chair. Once everyone is seated, have the blinded folks remove their blindfolds.

Team Building Activities

Processing the Exercise:

The facilitator asks the participants to arrange their chairs in a circle. The participants are then asked for their feedback on how each participant felt and what their thoughts were during the exercise. It is a great idea to use a tennis ball. If you need to break the ice, ask whether it was easier to lead or be led?

These team building activities will highlight how many people will conclude that they are not as trusting as they thought. Others will observe that they become anxious when they are not in control. Did anyone in the second group of blindfolded folks notice that their partner changed. What did that do to the non-verbal communication rapport that you had established as a pair? What were the insights or “Ah-Ha’s” of this exercise?


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