Trust is critical in any team. Without trust, it’s the equivilent of running a 10K race while carrying a 50-pound barbell. It starts at the top and must be protected throughout the team… What does it look like?
When you don’t have trust:
- At the end of the day, everyone is protective of themselves, their projects, their opinions, and ideas
- Tough issues that should be addressed don’t as no one is willing to put their neck out on the line
- The tendency is to hide and cover-up issues rather than ask for help and expose issues
- Team members will work against each other rather than align, productivity goes in the tank
- People choose to keep their mouth shut rather than proactively helping someone else on the team
- Ideas and brainstorming becomes flat and safe- no one wants to be ridiculed or held accountable for a bad idea
- The leader is often a major cause with lack of consistency, talks about other staff members behind their backs, hasn’t created a safe environment, and tolerates others doing the same
How can you take steps to infect your team with trust?
- It starts with you. Admit your mistakes and go to the people you’ve broken trust with and apologize. Then work and pray like mad to be authentic in your leadership.
- In brainstorming sessions, create an environment where no idea is a bad idea- As soon as you start shutting down ideas in meetings, your team will immediately filter their ideas or say nothing at all.
- Don’t allow people to gossip. Pour water on the gossips fires, don’t add fuel.
If someone is talking to you about someone, encourage them to talk directly to that person rather than you to work it out. (Obviously, resist the urge to gossip yourself)
- Reprimand or correct one on one, not in front of the group. If necessary, call a break in a meeting to talk to someone individually privately.
- Each member of your team needs to know you’re for them and their success. Work to remove barriers for them, give them private, candid feedback so they can improve, and genuinely work to make them thrive.
- Give away praise. When your team wins, use is as an opportunity to give credit to specific members who worked hard to accomplish something and let the team get the podium. It’s not about you.
- Freely admit your weaknesses, your team already knows what they are. There’s no sense in walking around like you have all the answers, you’ll simply be modeling dysfunction.
- Read Five Dysfunctions of a Team together and start practicing better steps.
There are many days I look back and cringe at a small comment I made or where I missed opportunities to build others up… Trust is a daily decision.