Trust is the foundation stone of any team’s success. Without trust a team is nothing more than a group of individuals with their own personal agendas. It is definitely not a functioning, high performing team.
Building trust is fundamental. Brené Brown talks about it often, Patrick Lencioni writes about it in pretty much every one of his books. Trust is absolutely necessary, but it is hard to cultivate even when a team comes together in a common workspace. It is twice as hard when teammates don’t spend time together regularly. Trust is difficult, for two reasons.
Firstly, trust means different things to different people and secondly, trust takes a long time and living through many difficult experiences to grow. We can go through 80 years of life and trust completely very few people. The trust that we are talking about here equates to vulnerability, openness and exposure to one another’s weaknesses and failures.
Sounds touchy feely, but it is not.
It is built on a simple and practical idea that people who are able to be vulnerable with each other will not engage in politics that wastes everyone’s time. They will forgo their own hidden agendas and personal goals for the good of the team. Everyone will be able to grow and learn and become better, increasing results and delivering more.
However, vulnerability is difficult and is not often rewarded quickly. In fact it can be quite uncomfortable in the short term without much compensation, so cultivating it takes determination, perseverance, and courage, but it is definitely worth it.
Trust goes both ways, so to build it managers and leaders need to regularly demonstrate a genuine concern and care for team members. Finding opportunities to show empathy, interest and look after team members beyond the deliverables of work.
Equally, team members need to exhibit trust worthiness. They need to deliver what they promised. They need to commit to the team and show that commitment by doing more than the minimum expected.
Building trust within your team will be the hardest part of the transition to remote working, but as leaders you need to create opportunities where vulnerability and openness is rewarded and encouraged. When you manage this you will see your team move from a group of people working on the same projects to a high performing team delivering exceptional work.
Find out how well you’re doing on building trust with the Free Culture Scorecard: Take the 5 minute assessment here