One Foot In

Trust is a battery. Don’t let it run low.

trust batteries. useful team-building questions and team building exercise

We’re pretty sure that ‘trust’ has moved beyond the nice-to-have phase in leadership and firmly into the must-have category—praise be.
But trust is one of those easy words to say and a hard thing to actually build.

Trust building is essential to team building and yet, so few teams understand how trust really works.

Interestingly enough, whenever we talk about trust we always talk about trust ‘building’. That’s because it’s widely acknowledged that it takes time to grow. If you’re looking for team-building questions and team-building exercise inspiration for your next offsite. During good times and tough team dynamics during layoffs, this is a go-to.

First, why is trust hard for teams to build?

Trust grows or wanes based on our actions over time. It’s like a battery that powers our relationships. No matter what we do, that battery naturally depletes over time. So, it needs regular charging to stay full.

Shopify came up with this trust battery exercise as they were growing their team. We’ve adapted it to make it suitable for a quick workshop exercise, but it can also be the central element of a workshop with multiple segments.

Regardless, it’s a fantastic concept for reflecting on your relationships and becoming more aware of how others might perceive you.

Here’s the basic idea of trust batteries:

When you’re hired, trust batteries start at 50%. Every promise you deliver, every bit of help you offer, every value you add, and every moment of kindness you bring to a relationship charges that battery.

But be aware that every time you don’t follow through on a promise, that battery gets discharged.

When batteries are low, that’s when things can get personal and tense. It’s usually because you’re quick to assume the worst.

The important thing to remember is that charging the battery is always a future endeavor. It’s not about what you’ve done in the past, but the new actions and attitudes you’ll take moving forward.

See why it’s such a good team-building question?! So how do you implement it?

Here’s a 15-minute version of the Trust Battery exercise:

Go around and tell 1-2 people about a moment today when they charged your trust battery. Let them know how they contributed to building trust.

And here’s a longer version:

  1. Using a worksheet or simply handing out a sheet of paper with a grid, have everyone write down the names of their colleagues.
  2. Give a few minutes for everyone to reflect and answer the question: How charged is your trust battery towards this person?
  3. Underneath, think about how you can improve your relationship with those people whose batteries are running low.
  4. Without revealing any names, identify common themes within the group.
  5. As a group, discuss opportunities and ways to recharge the batteries in areas where they are depleted.

So, let’s get those trust batteries fully charged, shall we?

To schedule a Leadership workshop that incorporates this exercise, head this way.