"A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other."
- Simon Sinek, Author of Start with Why.
When we think about teams often we think about each person's strengths and contributions to the team. How do they fit in? What role do they play?
What are their attributes? What do they bring to the table?
No matter what qualities each team member brings to the table, great teams are built upon trust. Each person needs to "have the back" of their leader and their colleagues. Everyone needs to feel and be trusted to create that successful team. Whether on the sports field or in the office, teams are successful when they exhibit the trust factor.
As leaders of our business or department, we need to adopt certain behaviours that foster trusting and effective teams. These behaviours need to be incorporated as intentional habits in our role as a leader.
"I bring you the gift of these four words: I believe in you."
- Blaise Pascal, French Physicist and Mathematician
First and foremost, we need to trust our team. If we don't trust our team, they will not trust us as the leader. Earning trust is like earning respect, neither can be forced upon people. How are we demonstrating trust in our staff on a regular basis?
Leading by example is another important facet to building and maintaining trust. Our role as a trusted leader is seen when we act with consistency, treat every team member fairly (no favourites) and keep gossip out of our conversations. When we talk and show frustration with one team member with one or more other team members either in private or in a meeting, we are undermining the team's trust. Effective leaders need to set and follow a rule of not discussing one team member with another behind his/her back. How do we ensure we are intentionally maintaining trust?
"Leaders also establish trust by giving credit where credit is due. They never score off their own people by stealing an idea and claiming it as their own."
- Jack Welch, former Chairman and CEO of General Electric
Acknowledging and crediting people for their contributions enhances trust. Genuinely showing each team player how valuable their input is, motivates them to continue putting forth their best efforts. We must all stop and put the success of the team before our own. How do we acknowledge and give credit to our team members?
Listening is a crucial skill for leaders and their teams. If we, as leaders, simply stay quiet and truly listen after consistently asking questions, we will be surprised by what we can learn. How do we ensure we are really seeking to understand?
Great teams are built upon trust. What are we doing to foster trust?
Paul Abra, Certified Executive Coach, Motivated Coaching and Development