When talking about teams, people pulling together toward a common goal, it’s critical to recognize the importance of trust among team members and especially between the team members and the boss. Trust doesn’t guarantee any level of success, but it is safe to say that lack of trust significantly limits success for all parties.
- Trust affects relationships. Relationships are a defining part of the work environment. When there is little trust within teams, benefit of the doubt in questionable situations goes out the window. Going to work becomes an exercise in walking on eggshells. Cooperation and collaboration are hard to come by. These all serve as good examples of why trust (or lack of it) becomes the foundation in which relationships are built upon and has a direct line to productivity.
- If two people do not trust one another in a team setting, it affects more than just them. People can see for themselves when two people do not trust one another. Their attitude toward each other and the lack of desire to help each other are clear indicators. People are intuitive about trust as well. Many people can sense when lack of trust causes discord in the workplace. When trust is the issue, most unwittingly pick a side. This is how workplaces fracture.
- People withhold effort when it might benefit someone they do not trust. To the extent that they can get away with it, people tend to sabotage those they don’t trust, even if it means just not helping them be successful. In relationships that do not have trust, it quickly devolves into an “every man for himself” mentality, and, it becomes easier to buy into a faulty notion that helping the other person get ahead means that I am falling behind.
- When Person A doesn’t trust Person B it doesn’t take too long for Person B to stop trusting Person A. People have to give trust to get or maintain trust. Not trusting opens a person up to come across as untrustworthy. People that actually work on their own personal trustworthiness are often trusted. When two people do not trust each other, they each validate the others’ inclination to not trust. This becomes a vicious cycle that damages the entire team’s ability to get things done.
- Trust is a gateway to other positive team dynamics. People who trust one another can take feedback from each other without the burden of wondering how they might be sabotaged. Candor is opened up. Conflict can become productive. Reductive beliefs can be replaced with beliefs about the things that can be accomplished. Productivity has a much higher potential.
Evaluating your team’s ability to build the levels of trust is crucial. Bringing in an organization like Leadership Systems to assist can be of value. Without trust there are only diminishing returns and a low ceiling rests over the team’s potential. Unfortunately, I’ve worked with many teams who have come to accept their really low potential as the natural order of things and they never try to fix it. Don’t be one of those teams. Work on trust just as hard as you might work on any other dashboard metric. After all, it is the foundation on which you build everything else.