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How to Spot Eroding Trust From a Distance

Updated: Oct 28, 2022

Trust is a fundamental element of any team.

And when trust gets eroded, you’ll see its many impacts rather quickly, either through the work of your team (or lack thereof) or through your coaching client base showing dissatisfaction or not returning. Sometimes the effects of eroded trust appear more subtly; this can be affected by culture or geography or if you work on a dispersed team.

Trust erosion can have unique nuances in work arrangements that are virtual, remote, hybrid or flexible in nature. Whether you’re doing a routine team wellness check or if you suspect that trust may be eroding on your team, across the organization or within your client base, here are some questions to ask yourself, particularly if you generally operate from a distance:

1. Lack of follow through – Are team members not committing to completing their tasks? Are they not communicating delays which are out of their control? Are coaching clients (group, team or individual), setting goals but not making efforts to commit to them? Perhaps mistakes are not corrected or learned from.

2. Favoritism – Are their cliques forming within your team? Is there a lack of cohesion or alignment? Are you catching any gossip? Or people talking behind people’s backs?

3. Not calling out issues as they emerge – Are you seeing a lack of results? Could you have had a coaching conversation around performance with a team member earlier in the process to avoid this? Do you feel anxiety around approaching certain team members around tricky issues because you’re afraid of how they’ll react?

4. Not addressing conflict – have you or other stakeholders been sweeping issues under the rug? Do you feel some issues are festering and growing?

5. Not feeling safe to bring issues – Are you seeing increased turnover, low morale and/or poor performance on your team? Are you seeing clients not returning your emails or calls?

(Source: Reconnecting Workspaces, Page 93)

If any of these questions above are triggering a response in you, it’s not too late. There may be some trust erosion occurring on your team but there is lots you can do to help mitigate the situation.

If you are looking for some quick tips for how to begin the process of regaining your team’s trust, I would first consult Pages 93-94 of Reconnecting Workspaces. If you have a particularly unique concern or behaviour pattern occurring within your team or across your organization and would like some advice, feel free to book a free 15-minute consultation with Jennifer Britton, and she will be happy to point you in the right direction.


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