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Learn how to build trust in teams from FBI spy recruiter

To build trust in teams, we have to actively fight the physiological stimulus to talk about ourselves and instead be curious about others.

A man in a suit and a hat is holding a phone to his ear and looking suspiciously into the distance. There is a building behind him.A man in a suit and a hat is holding a phone to his ear and looking suspiciously into the distance. There is a building behind him.

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Insights from Ellen Raim, Founder of People MatterWe focus more on solving than preventing People problems.

“If you have at least one bit of information another human being can benefit from, shame on you for not giving it to them,” says Robin Dreeke, former head of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Program.

Building trust in teams comes from understanding each other's inspirations and goals.

You can’t convince a person to become a spy because YOU want them to become a spy. You need to inspire them to WANT to become a spy. What are their priorities? What are their choices? What are their strengths? 

Spy recruitment methodology is applicable to our daily lives, too. If you focus more on others and less on yourself, without expecting reciprocity, relationships will strengthen.

These 4 tactics help build trust in teams:

We are all born hard-wired to talk about ourselves. Studies show that 40% of our day is spent sharing our own opinions. Why? Because, when we share, our brain is releasing dopamine, expecting a reward from the person we are sharing with. Our brain does not release as much dopamine when we listen to other people share their ideas. We have to actively fight that chemical imbalance.

Here are Robin's tactics to build trust among team members:

  • Be curious about others. Seek their opinions and ask what they think about it.
  • Stop talking about what’s important to you. Find out what’s important to others — talk to them about their priorities.
  • Validate others. Don’t judge people. Tell them why they are doing a great job, and put it into their context.
  • Give people choice. Choice empowers people to make decisions.

To build trust in teams, we need shared context or purpose. 

We all share similar experiences, no matter our background, ethnicity, orientation or religious beliefs. Find those shared experiences and embrace them. Maybe it’s a shared interest in food? Or you are both parents? Robin’s favorite question to ask people is, “What is your favorite family tradition?” We all have traditions, and most of us love to talk about them. Sharing context with people improves trust and strengthens your relationships.

Challenge your employees to apply one of Robin’s tactics each week to build trust across your teams.

Every week, encourage your employees to find one person and find out their top three priorities. Write them down. Relationship will blossom.

Robin is one of more than 150 instructors teaching more than 450 classes on the Electives platform.

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