Rebuilding Trust in Organisations – it doesn’t happen by magic!

A magician with black sleeves and white gloves holds a hat of magic light

Last year, I had the opportunity to work closely with several teams that were struggling to perform at their best. As I delved into the dynamics of each team, it became evident that a significant hurdle they faced was a breakdown in relationships stemming from a loss of trust.

This challenge isn’t uncommon. Trust within teams is a fluid concept – it fluctuates over time. Teams can shift from high trust to low trust in a relatively short timeframe. In one team I worked with, the team were stunned by how they went from what they described as a “very effective team, to a highly dysfunctional team” in a matter of months. Each interaction either strengthens or weakens trust. Low trust is often the result of a series of small, unintentional breaches. Little things like turning up late, breaching commitments, failing to listen and interrupting people when they are speaking, failing to invite people to attend meetings, talking about someone behind their back and so on.

When trust reaches a critical low, the consequences are profound. There is:

  • Loss of commitment
  • Loss of confidence
  • Loss of energy
  • An unwillingness to engage

Ultimately, low trust translates to low performance.

So, how do you rebuild trust? It certainly doesn’t happen overnight, nor does it occur by magic. Consistent behaviours build trust. That means:

  • Listening deeply and effectively – this is critical
  • Saying what needs to be said – straight talking
  • Asking questions – respectfully
  • Offering feedback – both affirmative and corrective
  • Dealing with conflict constructively – having the hard conversations
  • Sharing information – keeping people in the loop
  • Keeping commitments
  • Supporting each other when help is needed

With each team, we embarked on a deliberate process to initiate healing. We empowered team members to:

  • Observe and acknowledge past events
  • Allow emotions to surface
  • Share their perspectives openly
  • Take ownership of their actions
  • Extend forgiveness to themselves and others
  • Embrace the opportunity to move forward

Rebuilding trust is a journey that demands courage and commitment. It requires brave conversations and persistent effort. While success may not be immediate, the transformation can be remarkable. I’ve witnessed teams with low trust make significant strides – collaborating more effectively, finding joy in their work, and achieving remarkable results.

These teams continue to honour their commitments and navigate difficult conversations. They’re well on their way to becoming exceptionally effective teams.

If your team is grappling with a lack of trust that’s impeding its potential, and you’re eager to initiate change, I invite you to learn more about what Balanced Curve offers and contact me at

Let’s explore how we can collaborate to turn things around.

Mark Rosenberg

Director, Balanced Curve

Mark Rosenberg