Tips for building empathy and trust on new agile teams


I have my own ways of going about this personally but I wanted to see everyone input on this topic. Do you have any techniques for this as coaches or scum masters? Or just a general philosophy behind this?

Also some real world experiences would be great. Would love to learn from the coalition. Curious to hear your thoughts!


Food and potlucks are always a nice change of pace


I’ve experimented with many things, with mixed results. So much depends on the team and the culture.

A few things I’ve used:

Mostly for me it comes down to “play time”


Have you considered simply modeling the behavior?


Yes, this is something I am always trying to do but I guess i’m asking what else lol


Thanks Andy will read tonight!


A good related post showed up today in my inbox:

Particularly relevant parts are the exercises around team values and team agreements.

I’ve done team values, with mixed results.

Agreements seems to gain more traction for my dev-teams


Love the comments Andy, I’m going to read up on these posts during the holidays.

From my perspective, I’ve captured some ideas as well (and can pass along some other tips I’ve used):

Curious to hear what everyone thinks. Cheers!


I personally don’t like to artificially try to build empathy and trust on a team. Rather I like to see the team learn to trust each other naturally through working together, having stand-ups, retrospectives, and thinking about WIP. If I were to do otherwise, people might catch onto me fast and feel like I’m, well, “trying” to build empathy and trust (as if I don’t trust them to have it on their own). I also find running a pragmatic persona exercise on the end user, or client, is really, really useful in aligning a team. Normally I find that people who have never worked Scrum before, for example, resist stand-up, but then can’t live without it. Maybe I’m an outlier but don’t ever find it is necessary to try to build trust and empathy. It arises naturally!


I agree that trying to force it doesn’t work.

However I have been in environments / cultures that were not conducive to team members building trust, so it didn’t arise on its own. (I couldn’t effectively change that workplace, so I changed my workplace.)

I continue to explore the conditions that help catalyze and nurture the development of trust, rapport, & empathy.

I see my role as a gardener, making sure the soil pH and nutrient levels are conducive to a healthy crop.

And occasionally I point out what might be a weed so as a team we can discuss it.