Transform Your Board Into a High Performing Team By Building Trust

“Trust has to do with a willingness on people’s part to be vulnerable within the team,” according to an article by Jim Osterhaus published on

He goes on to point out that it takes time to build trust.

Trust rests on four foundation stones. For example, in order for you to trust me, my behavior must be predictable, not erratic. Predictability comes from consistency, something that can only be observed over time. However, I must be consistently dependable. In other words, you observe over time that I consistently make good decision and present sound ideas. Finally, there’s congruence. I do what I say.

Pastor, model those four characteristics personally as a foundation for getting the board to trust you.

However, you can also move your board toward high performance by helping the members trust each other.

High Performance Boards Learn to Know, Like and Trust Each Other

No team of any kind can function well without a solid foundation of trust and mutual respect. Here are five specific tactics which you can model and teach to help your board members build mutual trust.

  1. Risk self-disclosure.  Admit your own weaknesses and affirm your own strengths. 
  2. Avoid stereotyping and labeling. 
  3. Listen empathically – even to those with whom you strongly disagree.
  4. Provide emotional security. The team must be a place where it is safe to speak up.
  5. Practice deliberate inclusion. Determine which member is most excluded, dominated or disliked, then make an effort to make them feel wanted and included.

Trust building skills can be learned, you can model them, and the church board can grow its ability to lead effectively.

-Bud Clarkson

(These tips condense information found in the book Communication in Small Groups: Theory, Process and Skills, 7th Edition by John F. Cragan, David W. Wright, Chris R. Kasch, available on

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