Have you ever worked in a team where there is a lack of trust between team members? I’m sure you have at some point in your career. If you have or still do, don’t worry you aren’t alone. Lack of trust between team members causes significant problems and leads to a team becoming ineffective and fractured. Lack of trust results in:
No delegation – why would you delegate work to someone you don’t trust?
Miscommunication – messages not being passed on to other team members.
Destructive relationships – back-stabbing and a blame culture.
Me instead of Us – focus on looking after No. 1 instead of the team.
Low morale – negative comments and focus on failure.
The above is not a definitive list and I’m sure you can think of many other situations that arise due to lack of trust. It is often an issue that is skirted around or ignored by team members because it’s about relationships and emotions. Ignore it at your peril.
So why is trust so important in a team?
Trust is the foundation upon which exceptional team performance is built. It cannot be bought. It takes time to nurture and flourish however when it is earned and the bond between individuals is strong, everything becomes possible and achievable.
So what should you do if trust is lacking in your team?
Be brave and bold. Raise the issue at your earliest opportunity with your leader or at your next team meeting. Others in your team will know something is wrong however may be sitting on the fence waiting for someone else to raise it.
Explore what’s not working. Get everyone involved in sharing openly and without individual recrimination what the issues are.
Create strategies that embed trust. Take the issues and work out and agree collectively how to overcome them.
Develop a team charter. Agree what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour.
Review. Ensure you check-in regularly as a team that trust is building between team members.
If you have any other suggestions on how to build trust, I’d love to hear them.
Yours behaviourally, Nick