Does your organization, project, or next big deal depend on teamwork? Well, how strong is the trust within your team? Trust is essential to maximizing results.
Imagine that you are playing basketball. You are in the fourth quarter with 30 seconds left on the clock, and you are down one point. It is critical that you can count on the other members of the team. Imagine a team where you can count on any player’s ability to make that final shot versus another team where you do not have confidence in anyone to make the final shot. And if you need to stop the opponent from scoring before you get the chance to take that final shot, you must be able to depend on your team to play tough defense and get the ball back. What if you felt like someone on the team would not pull their weight?
This is essentially what goes on in the workplace every day. If trust-building is not dealt with, you cannot maximize the performance of your organization. “Trust” starts with the premise that one’s peers’ intentions are good, and that there is no reason to be careful around group members. Once trust has been broken, its absence is hard to overcome.
In most teams, too much time and energy – and too many good ideas – are wasted trying to protect one’s reputation by managing behaviors, comments, and interactions because of a lack of trust that was created in previous interactions. People are reluctant to ask for help and to offer assistance to others, causing lower morale and unwanted turnover.
In addition, absence of trust in others causes people to create poor work behaviors. Instead of addressing the trust issue, they choose to do things themselves instead of delegating. Or, when others display a behavior they do not like or seem to not be delivering on promises, they take work away instead of addressing the issue at hand. Worse, they may even set lower goals so that they know they can achieve them without the assistance of others.
To address this lack of trust on a team, a leader must demonstrate vulnerability first, and make sure they are authentic and use good timing when doing so. Leaders must encourage open dialogue in meetings, look for situations where people engage in behavior that demonstrates lack of trust, and bring it out in the open. They need to have everyone openly discuss the strength each team member brings to the team. They also need to describe the behaviors that lead them to be distrustful and get them to address those behaviors. No one, including the CEO, is immune from this exercise. One bad apple will spoil the batch.
Howard Shore is a business growth expert that works with companies that want to maximize their growth potential by improving strategy, enhancing their knowledge, and improving motivation. To learn more about him or his firm please contact Howard Shore at (305) 722-7213 or [email protected].