Build from trust

I’m a big fan of Patrick Lencioni’s book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. Its dysfuctions model is very strong. At the base level, team dysfunction comes  down to trust. “And when it comes to teams,” says Lencioni, “trust is all about vulnerability.”

It’s kind of obvious right? Logic says:

Trust is the foundation of all healthy relationships. Your team needs to have a good working relationship to work effectively. They can’t do that if they can’t trust each other. Simple.

But think about it, what do you do to build trust within your team? Does the corporate culture at your office really encourage trust? How comfortable are you with showing your vulnerabilities?

Quick Self-Assessment: Does your team trust?

  • Do team members ask for help?
  • Do team members admit mistakes?
  • Do team members apologize?
  • Do team members openly discuss their ideas?

If Your Team Doesn’t Trust:

  • They won’t take risks.
  • They won’t support each other to succeed.
  • They won’t be able to get over even the smallest of hurdles or disagreements.
  • They won’t work for the common good. They will look out for #1.
  • They will waste energy pretending, and stunt their own growth.
  • They will limit what they can achieve. That limits results.

3 Things You Can Do Today to Foster Trust

Be honest about your mistakes. Something as simple as admitting, “I really blew that!” can inspire people’s trust. You aren’t perfect. They know that. Be real. It builds your credibility. They’ll respect that you aren’t hiding or dodging and they’ll follow suit.

Show your staff that you respect vulnerability. When someone on your team takes a risk, or exposes a weakness in an effort to grow, show him or her your support.

Expose a little of your own vulnerability. The truth of the matter is, your team already knows your weaknesses.

Say you struggle to keep people accountable. Your people notice that you let Joe slide on his quotas every month, and it’s just a matter of time until Lyn takes advantage too.

If you come out and say, “Look, I realize that I have to work on this” and people see you do it, you shine a light on something that is helping you to grow as a manager. You get to grow, keep control of the team, release some pressure and encourage your staff to do the same. Win, win, win, win!

FYI: It’s one thing to read about this stuff, but the power of this work lives in people actually doing the work.

Last week I had the opportunity to run an executive team through a workshop based on the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team model and I wanted to send a quick shout out to that team – the work you did was truly inspiring!

Interestingly, most of the people there had read the 5 Dysfunctions of a Team. They new the model. But the courage that they demonstrated as a group, opened up growth possibilities that transcended what any one individual had been able do in isolation. It was phenomenal work.

This article was originally published in Chris Obst’s monthly e-newsletter. Sign up on the side.

Category: All, Good Management Habits, Manage your People, Managing Conflict, Managing high performers, People Management Books, Team building
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