Teams comprised of employees who trust each other tend to be more productive. They spend more time working together for the good of the company and less time second-guessing each other and undermining each other. Employee trust also adds to a more pleasant work environment enjoyed by everyone concerned.
Team Building Courses
High initiative and ropes courses both provide excellent opportunities for team members to build trust. They are, however, quite expensive, ranging in price from $500 to $5,000 depending on the length of the course and whether or not the courses require travel. Those whose budgets do not permit participation in formal team-building courses may choose to put together their own team-building exercises in their own office.
A Dollar Bill
The game Who's Got a Dollar provides an opportunity for new teams to get to know each other and build trust. Have the team members stand in a circle. The team leader asks the question, "Who's got a dollar?" and waits patiently until a member of the team voluntarily offers a dollar to the team leader. The giver of the dollar has an opportunity to then express her hopes and aspirations for the team. The coach then gives the dollar to another team member who then expresses his hopes. This continues on with higher dollar amounts, up to around $20. At the end, the people holding the money demonstrate trustworthiness by returning the money to the original contributor.
Gather team members in an open space such as a large meeting room or an empty, roped-off parking lot. Divide team members into pairs. Blindfold one member of each pair. Then spread "mines" such as traffic cones throughout the area. The blindfolded team member must attempt to navigate the area without bumping into any mines by following his partner's verbal instructions. Reverse roles so that all team members are the blindfolded once.
This exercise requires no equipment or planning. It requires participants to make eye contact. Though many people find making eye contact uncomfortable, it builds trust and shows respect. Divide the team into pairs. Have team members face each other and look into each other's eyes for 60 seconds. Repeat with different team members paired up. Though this may initially cause discomfort, over time team members will find it easier to make eye contact on a regular basis.