Trust is critical within any successful team. How does trust grow in a working team?
The simple answer is that it is built through clarity, honesty and openness. It’s reinforced through shared values, which are essential for creating a team culture of shared responsibility that can deal with whatever is thrown at it.
Honest communication is essential. That’s not another way of saying anyone can say what they think regardless of how other feel about it. That’s simply going to cause friction. As long as the focus is on the goal, the end result and whatever is said is focused on that – not on individuals you’ll be on the right track. People will learn to trust each other and know that everyone can share their thoughts, with respect and without recrimination.
When things don’t go according to plan a team that trust each other will rise to the challenge and know that every member of the team accepts accountability and will be doing their part to drive the business forwards.
Vision of success
The most important thing is to ensure that everyone is on the same page. This means that the goal is clear to everyone – and every single member of the team is committed to achieving the same vision of success. This is where trust is essential; everyone is going in the same direction and each person has to be confident that their colleagues will deliver the same level of effort and excellence that they do personally.
Values pinned to the mast
The values that underpin everything the organisation stands for need to be visible and understood by everyone. They’re the basis for building a strong culture in the business and they create unity – ‘we’re all in this together’. Strong values also create engagement and strong team bonds.
The values are the reference point which will keep everyone moving in the right direction and ensure that the team’s vision of success is achieved ethically and enthusiastically.
Shared values are a fundamental part of the process of building trust.
No room for scapegoats
When things go wrong – and they will – it’s not the time to find someone to blame. A team that trusts each other won’t waste time looking for a scapegoat. Instead, they will objectively assess that the desired result hasn’t yet been achieved, learn from the process and focus on finding a better way to solve the problem.
Truthful communication is essential – from the leaders and from every member of the team – no matter how bad the news happens to be. An environment of trust allows people to hold up their hands and admit to mistakes, without fear of reprisals.
Everyone is human and making a mistake is part of making progress. It’s notable that when people are fully engaged and feel accountable for the outcome of a project or goal, creativity is greater and fewer mistakes are made. However, mistakes are learning opportunities – we never lose, we either win or we learn!
As a leader you’re the place where it all starts. If you are transparent, willing to share and even more willing to listen, value your team’s skills and opinions, don’t fly off the handle when things go wrong and give praise where it’s due, your team will learn to trust you – and that’s the first step to ordinary people building an extraordinary team.