Seven Tips for Building Trust Among Your Team

By October Henson Davis (Iota Chi, Middle Tennessee State University), assistant director of volunteer management

Entering a new year is the perfect time to look back at all your previous work as a team and set goals for the upcoming months. As you plan for 2022, we recommend that you assess the relationships you have with those that you work with on your team. As you assess those relationships, consider skills you have that can help build stronger connections moving forward.  

Excellent interpersonal skills are what nurture successful relationships, and it can be easy to underestimate how important honing your relationship-building skills can be. The importance of building strong relationships does not stop with Alpha Chi Omega; the skills can be utilized in your professional life, personal life and other volunteer experiences. One component that is the foundation of strong relationships is trust 

Here are some ways that you, as part of your Alpha Chi Omega volunteer work and beyond, can implement high-trust practices and begin building trust among your team.  

  1. Assume positive intent. Believe the best in others! Avoid immediately jumping to negative reactions with teammates. Remind yourself that we are all on the same team even if our projects and opinions are different.  
  2. Be consistent and accountable. Repeatedly act with integrity and demonstrate reliability. If you won’t be able to follow through, share that beforehand. Do what you say you will do!  
  3. Own your mistakes. We are all going to make mistakes. When you do, make them right and be willing to apologize!  
  4. Make yourself available and listen. Quality time with each other goes a long way! Be sure that you are present and giving someone undivided attention. Just listen with an intent to understand without providing advice or an immediate response. It is so important for your teammates to feel heard.  
  5. Celebrate others on the team. People want to be celebrated and celebrate you in return! Others should know they can count on you to highlight their strengths and have confidence in them.  
  6. Delegate responsibly. You can show others that you trust them by being willing to give up some power. Doing so responsibly means that you are setting up others for success.  
  7. Be authentic. You must be willing to trust others. It is impossible to create an environment of trust on a team if people feel they can’t be themselves. You can model the way by allowing others to get to know your true self.  

Our hope is that these tips will serve as a framework for discussion among your team about relationship-building and trust, both of which are critical skills and competencies needed to be a successful leader. What are you currently doing well to build trust and what could you be practicing more? By implementing just a few of these tips, you should begin to see an increase in trust across your team. It’s OK to implement a few at a time and slowly start adjusting. The first step to building trust is that you begin somewhere, and the most important step is that you continue working on it together as a team!  

Building relationships is one of Alpha Chi Omega’s volunteer core competencies. To learn more about this competency and others, please visit the Resource Center on our website.