In Patrick Lencioni’s great book 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, he illustrates so well how trust is the basis of success for every team.
It is not a “fluffy”, “tree hugger” thing – as many cynics would say. He very skillfully shows how there is a direct correlation between trust and bottom line performance.
My experience of working with teams for many years across multiple industries and in a host of different geographical locations, that what he says is absolutely true.
The teams that do not have high level of trust spend far too much time managing the politics, circumventing damaged or frayed relationships, when this time could be spent on delivering the business objectives.
So, where this lack of trust exists then how do you fix it, you might well ask?
Truthfully, there is a bit of pain to go through to start with but the benefits are huge. Here are some things you, as the leader, can do immediately:
- Get a good facilitator to run a session with your team to map out your success and disappointments, and then to understand what behaviours enabled the successes and which ones created the disappointments. Therein lies the keys to understanding the issues – and trust will be amongst them, I guarantee you!
- Then agree new behaviours that you will hold each other accountable to – the latter piece being really critical. These new behaviours will lead to higher trust.
- After that, you ensure that your team communicates with each other with a high degree of frequency – only regular communication will build trust!
- Where you see a sign of lack of trust raising it’s ugly head, then tackle it instantly and call it out – don’t wait until the next meeting. Do it now!
- You must be the shining example of trust – always, but always, do the right thing. And when you find you have not done so, then own up and be transparent about it. We all trust those who live with integrity.
As the leader, you are responsible for the level of trust in the team – if you are not seen to place a high level of importance on it, then who will?
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