Strengthen Your Team with Trust

Trust in others and in one’s self is developed only when team members are interdependent – they are respectful, encouraging, loyal, and hard working. A spirit of independence is highly valued in today’s society. So being interdependent and placing trust in other team members to carry out their responsibilities is sometimes difficult.

To be a strong, contributing team member, you have to let go of some past thoughts, habits, attitudes, and activities if you want to have the power behind trusting others – which is the cornerstone of team building. When you are an interdependent team player, you actually have more power than if you insist on “going it alone.”

As you work toward becoming a valuable member of a team, beware of any behaviors that might chip away at the bedrock of trust among team members. A little gossip, a power play, a critical comment, or even the lack of feedback can severely damage trust, and push your team back to the limited individual approach. The golden rule of doing to others what you want them to do to you fits perfectly within a team. Furthermore, it is the bond that holds your team together through challenges and obstacles.

Respect, Synergy and Success

Trust enables you to encourage other team members to use their skills and abilities to help move the entire team toward reaching its goal. When you display trust in others, showing them that you believe in them and that you have confidence in their skills and abilities to contribute to the team’s success, they will trust and encourage you to use your skills and abilities to help reach the goal.

Mutual trust among all the team players creates congruency in thought, ambition, desire, and action. Teamwork bolstered by trust minimizes stress, eliminates misunderstandings, and saves time as you get more done. When you have team members who trust each other, you do not need to have lengthy conversations. Rather, you can almost speak in shorthand. These qualities in turn create synergy – the phenomenon that enables team members working together to accomplish much more than if they worked solo.

Trust develops respect among team members. Respect is required for any healthy relationship whether it is personal or professional. Teams are frequently made up of people who bring very different skills and abilities to the work group; their differences contribute to the strengths and capabilities for reaching the assigned goal. When all the team members assume their appropriate responsibilities, mutual trust and respect develop.

The team leader is responsible to recognize the skills and abilities of each team player well enough to know who would be best in each position. The team members must have confidence in the team leader to make team assignments and to ensure that the right players are in the right positions. In a band, the leader assigns responsibility for playing the drum to the person who can best play the drum. The leader assigns a trumpet player the responsibility of playing the trumpet. The band members in turn trust that the leader knows best and goes along with his or her direction. This kind of trust creates harmony, respect, synergy, and, ultimately, success.

Working in a climate of trust reduces stress and enables energy to be used more constructively. If two people in a rowboat paddle randomly, they expend twice the energy to get half the results. But if they paddle in sync, they double their speed with half the effort. The exact same principle applies in any organization when team members work together with a high level of trust. They work together more efficiently and effectively because they know they can trust the other team members to do their part. Their loyalty grows, and their level of job satisfaction increases. When workers are doing their best to contribute to the success of the team and they are enjoying their jobs, the result is always a higher level of success.

  • Trust is essential to reach the goal, to get the job done. Like any worthwhile accomplishment, there are no shortcuts to establish trust:Developing trust takes time, effort, and commitment.
  • Building trust means doing what is right even when it is difficult to do.
  • Trust means encouraging other team members even when you do not feel like it.
  • Trust means always doing your best and not letting the team down.

These increased levels of synergy and success are not limited to the work team; they expand into every other area of the organization. Your organization makes a profit, you have job security, and you enjoy the personal satisfaction of having contributed to it all.

Leadership Management® Institute
Reprinted with permission
Strategic Essentials is a Managing Partner for Leadership Management® International, Inc.

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