is the home for the Responsibility Company, with a revolutionary Responsibility Immersion course, new workshops and activity, free resources and much more. [Visit]  

Teamwork Basics: Build Trust With These 4 Easy Steps to Fix Broken Agreements

 teamwork group clapping

How do you avoid losing trust in your team? It is as simple as cleaning up all broken agreements at your earliest opportunity, but how do you manage that?

If the recipe for TRUST in team building is to make and keep incrementally larger agreements, then what happens if you break an agreement? One of two things can happen: your partners can lose confidence in you and may withhold trust, or you can respond immediately and clean up the relationship mess that you created.

Apply these four trust-building steps with sincerity:

1. Acknowledge that you broke the agreement

Make no excuses and tell no stories. Simply acknowledge that you blew it. The first person to acknowledge the broken agreement to is yourself. Then acknowledge it to your partners.

When you are responsible enough to call yourself on your mistake, your partners do not have to pretend to ignore it, pretend to make it okay, or confront you about it.

2. Apologize to your partners for breaking the agreement

Sincerely tell your partners that they did not deserve to be treated as they were by you. Think about how you say it. You want your partners to completely get your apology, so make sure that you deliver the message with appropriate contrition. “I apologize to you,” may sound better than, “I’m sorry.”

You aren’t trying to get let off the hook here. You are holding yourself accountable so your partners don’t have to.

3. Ask: What can I do to make amends?

You may think that you know how to make amends, and, yes, you can announce that you are prepared to replace lost or broken property or make up for a lost opportunity.

However, asking what you can do to correct the situation places the emphasis on team building and repairing the relationship. Besides, it’s also a chance to make a new agreement and demonstrate trust.

4. Recommit to the relationship

Tell your partners how important the future of your relationship is to you and what you intend to do to ensure that you keep future agreements you make with your partners.

Do it today!

If you follow these four steps sincerely and with your head held high, you’ll find that you can recover from most broken agreements (that you intended to keep) and continue to .


For practice, think of at least one relatively minor broken agreement (such as “I’ll call you” and then you didn’t) and one relatively major broken agreement (…yes, that one!), and clean them both up before the end of this week. You can free up even more energy if you do it before the end of today.

Developing trust as part of your team building process is essential. Team members must have confidence in one another if the team is to be successful. Making and keeping small agreements is how to begin building trust, because if you don’t keep small agreements, you won’t get the chance to make large agreements. Big or small, if you break an agreement, make sure to clean it up right away so the team can move on.

Learning how to trust just right is only one of many principles Christopher Avery teaches in his book Teamwork Is An Individual Skill. He has taught hundreds of leaders to operate their business, and lives, more successfully. Find additional resources to master leadership or build a responsible team (or family) at

This entry was posted in Responsibility, Teamwork and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Teamwork Basics: Build Trust With These 4 Easy Steps to Fix Broken Agreements

  1. Very well written and practical article. I think if you act in good faith once an agreement is broken, it can be repaired by good will. I have seen this many times in the business world.

  2. Pingback: Why Establishing Common Ground is Negotiation Rule No. 1 | Christopher Avery's Leadership Gift Blog

  3. Pingback: Leadership Skills: The Formula for Building Trust | Christopher Avery's Leadership Gift Blog

  4. Pingback: Leadership Skills: How to Apologize Effectively | Christopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ Blog

  5. Pingback: Leadership Skills: Why Building Trust is So ImportantChristopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ Blog

  6. Pingback: How to Maintain Trust When You Didn't Keep an Agreement | Christopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ BlogChristopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ Blog

  7. Pingback: How to Maintain Trust After a Blown Agreement | Christopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ BlogChristopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ Blog

  8. Pingback: How to Fix MistakesChristopher Avery's The Leadership Gift™ Blog

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.


Enter your email address to be notified of new blog posts.

Delivered by FeedBurner