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  • Writer's pictureLata Hamilton

HOW TO: Build trust with teams

Updated: Apr 28, 2023

Today we look at one of the most important ingredients in leadership - trust. It’s even more important during organisational change to grow and maintain trust with your staff. But it can be tough! We share three inspiring approaches to building trust with your team throughout your restructure process.

trust hands

So restructures are incredibly complex times, and unfortunately no matter the level of your restructure (whether it's company-wide, department, or team level), unfortunately often this time breeds some negative behaviours. So it could be a lot of fear, stress, anxiety for staff. It could be gossip, rumours, bullying. And these behaviours that come out during restructures undermine the success of your restructure. Because they eat away at team morale, performance, productivity, and TRUST that your team and your people have in their colleagues, themselves, and you, as their leaders, as well as the company.

I'm Lata Hamilton, Change Leadership and Confidence expert. And this is the 12th article in my 15-part Reimagine Restructures Blog Series.

Prefer to watch the 5 minute video? Jump over to my Youtube Channel.

Some of the damage that can happen during this period, might not even just be during the process of the restructure. It can last for weeks, months, maybe even YEARS, after your restructure. And really

damage the team culture and the company culture through that whole time. So it is really important to be able to build trust and maintain trust through the process, and on into the future. I’ll be sharing three themes to try when tackling your next restructure. 

IDEA #1: Take a human-centred approach. 

Make sure that - no matter what technical benefits there might be from doing this change in team structure, or jobs, or roles and responsibilities, or operating model - that you always take a human-centred approach. It’s about putting your people first, and harnessing the power of people.

Truly appreciate and go in with gratitude for what people bring to your business and your company. By

going in with this mindset, you’ll change the energetic foundation of your entire organisational change and everything else flows and feeds off that base. 

IDEA #2: Switch your trust philosophy

So the second approach that I'd like you to think about is: that trust is not "earned", it's actually automatically "given". So it's an invitation to TRUST FIRST. To actually inform your team, to be very

open, transparent, and honest. During restructures, leaders can sometimes fall into a trap that information is power, and, therefore, they should do everything behind closed doors, and not involve people or their teams, or be honest and transparent about the process or future.

So it's about respecting your people, being open, being transparent, and trusting them. Giving them the information that they can use, and trusting that they will use it in the right way. Because you can "disguise" it how you want, but people can see through that! People can see through your B.S.! So you need to make sure that, from the outset, you're open and transparent and trust your people, because if you don't and they see through whatever you're trying to do, or the "games" that you are trying to play, then it's just going to erode that trust from the outset. 

So it's about talking to them in a respectful manner, it's about treating them like adults, being open, honest and transparent.

IDEA #3: Two-way street with communications

Lastly, make sure that you are always delivering any messages and communication in your restructure as a "two-way street". Create the space for dialogue for all of the people who are involved in your restructure. And bring into the mix a little bit of a personal element. That you consider what's going on at a personal level for people, or what MIGHT be going on at a personal level for people. By creating a space for dialogue and creating the space for feedback, interaction, connectivity, it means that people are going to want to actually interact with you, ask questions, find out more, and have a more solid view as to what's going on. And that will build your trust and maintain that trust all the way through your process. 

To summarise…

1) Commit to a human-centred approach

2) Trust first and treat people as adults

3) Make sure communication is a two-way street

I'm Lata Hamilton - the Founder & CEO of Passion Pioneers, a Change Management consultancy specialising in digital transformation, operating model changes, and new ways of working and leadership.

Grab my free Creative Launch Ideas Guide with 53 ways to bring your next Change and Transformation to life - download it here.

And if you'd like my help with your next change or building leadership capability for your team, get in touch with me here.


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