Skip to main content
29th May 2024

Trust as a factor for team success

In fast-paced and dynamic working environments, cultivating trust within teams is essential for achieving success. By understanding the mechanisms of trust and taking action to support the development of team trust, teams can experience a wide range of benefits.

Trust as a mechanism

At its core, trust is a psychological mechanism whereby you suspend any uncertainty about another’s actions and have a positive expectation about another that good reason alone would not warrant. Trust within teams is not unidimensional; research by Mayer (1995) outlines that it comprises of three key factors:

  1. Ability – the perception that another has the skills or characteristics to complete a task; for example, your colleague has been trained and is experienced in completing a piece of work
  2. Benevolence – the belief that another has good intentions aside from any profit-related motivation; for example, although a team member may complete a task because they’re paid to do so, they have a desire to complete the task to a high standard
  3. Integrity – the perception that another follows a set of principles or has values that are acceptable within the team; for example, a team member communicates with transparency and honesty when collaborating on a project

To develop trust within teams, it is important to engage in behaviours that demonstrate all three factors of trust.

Psychological safety and team trust

Psychological safety is a shared belief within teams that it’s safe to take interpersonal risks, voice opinions and admit mistakes.

Trust and psychological safety are deeply linked and reciprocate each other. When teams develop high levels of trust, they create a sense of security within their interpersonal relationships, thereby increasing psychological safety. Moreover, when individuals within a team feel psychologically safe, they are more likely to trust their team members and feel that their opinions and contributions will be valued.

team trust

The benefits of team trust

Research has outlined a wide range of benefits associated with developing high levels of team trust. Some key advantages include:

  • Improved communication and collaboration
  • Increased productivity and efficiency
  • Enhanced problem-solving skills
  • Higher levels of engagement and job satisfaction
  • Stronger cohesion and working relationships

Higher levels of trust within a team, along with a strong presence of psychological safety, can also lead to increased creativity and innovation as team members are more likely to feel comfortable sharing their ideas and collaborating.

Strategies for developing team trust

Linking back to Mayer’s research, trust can be developed by engaging in behaviours that demonstrate Ability, Benevolence and Integrity, such as working to a high standard while demonstrating expertise and credibility. However other useful tips include:

  • Encourage open, honest and transparent communication, however ensure to communicate with respect and value your team members’ contributions
  • Lead by example – ensure to consistently fulfil our commitments
  • Manage the expectations of your team by clearly defining roles and responsibilities to avoid misunderstandings and support team members to take accountability
  • Show appreciation and recognise hard work
  • Offer support to team members that are facing difficulty on a task or project
  • Manage difficult conversations or disagreements in a constructive and constructive manner

strategies for developing trust

How Impact can help you

Our trained facilitators are experienced in delivering workshops that aim to foster the development of trust within teams. We also offer the “Dialling up Psychological Safety in your Team” package, which you can learn more about by clicking the following link: