Trust is essential to a productive workplace and to a successful team venture. Trust is a cornerstone of our work with strengthening teams through conflict competency, and I’m often asked by leaders, “So, how do I actually go about creating that trust??”
Start the conversation - right out of the gate
To build trust within your team or group, start right out of the gate to create a space for open, honest interaction. Our team uses conversation to help people feel comfortable with one another. It’s a simple but powerful way to start building trust in a team. You’ll see that it’s also a fun way to help your team get to know each other and make connections - like an ice-breaker at a networking event or a game at a party.
Note: This is not just child’s play! Research shows the connection between positivity and productivity. We know a positive team is a motivated team is a high-performing team.
Shall we get started? Here are instructions for an exercise which we have used successfully with our client teams. Designed specific as an entry level exercise to support vulnerabilty based trust building.
Conversation Starter Tool: Warm-up Questions
- 20-minute exercise for a large group.
- Need: a list of questions (below) and a small, light ball or object that can be tossed across the circle.
- Gather the group standing in a circle.
- Start by tossing the ball to someone in the circle, and ask them one of the questions. When they’ve answered, they get to toss the ball to someone else in the circle. (They won’t know what question you will ask that person.)
- You then ask that person a question. And so on around the circle.
- Participants get one “pass” - if they don’t want to answer that first question they can pass, but they must answer the next one. Since you are asking the questions, you retain control of the energy in the group, so everyone feels comfortable and included.
Another simple way to do this is to have everyone answer the same question.
The questions we craft for our facilitated team experiences are always designed to be relevant to the group situation, as well as a mix of fun, personal-life related (but not too personal), work-related, somewhat deep, and creative/playful.
The idea is to bring people together, not to introduce anything potentially divisive! Here’s a sample list we might use:
- What is your favorite movie?
- What is your ideal dream vacation?
- Other than your birthday, what is an important day to you and why?
- Who makes you laugh?
- What is your favorite food?
- When were you the most scared?
- What are two valuable traits in a co-worker?
- Who is a person you admire?
- What was an important turning point in your life?
- What are two practical skills you possess?
- When were you the happiest?
- When you're not at work, what is an activity you enjoy?
- If you had a time machine, what's an event in history you would like to see?
- What's an important life rule or word of advice?
Feel free to add your own creative touch to these questions that will match your group and the occasion. It will not only help build trust within your team, it might also make you the life of the party!