Last week I shared with you the three things that will help you strengthen trust in your team.
Number one was this:
Open, inclusive and honest conversations about the things that really matter with equal ‘air time’ and high quality listening.
We made a start on this last week with an exercise I shared with you to help you get the topic of trust on the team table.
Number two on the list of things that will help you strengthen trust in your team was this:
Know your colleagues as human beings not just ‘job titles’.
And this is where we are going next.
If you haven’t read the previous few weeks’ posts on Trust then you can access them here
I once worked with a lovely woman who had recently joined the Board of a Manufacturing Company. She was talented, hard- working and results driven. Part of the executive coaching work with her included some 360 feedback which I was gathering informally.
Whilst much of the feedback was excellent there was one over-riding theme:
‘We don’t really know who she is outside of work – in fact we know nothing about her family, her interests… she keeps herself to herself so we don’t know if we can trust her’. Her ‘corporate mask’ as one team member described it was creating a barrier.
She was mortified – her view of the world was that ‘work is work’ and ‘you leave your personal life at the door.’ So the ‘idle chit-chat’ as she saw it before each board meeting was a waste of everyone’s time – whereas in fact the Board had an ‘unofficial team norm’ that allowed them to spend 15 minutes or so with each other ‘checking- in’ with the unspoken belief that ‘small talk helps the big talk to happen.’ Her refusal to ‘play ball’ was seen as dubious by the rest of the team. What did she have to hide?
This is something I’ve heard over and over again.
I heard a version of it last week with a team I’ve been working with for a while:
‘I’ve started to spend a bit more time with Dave this week and now I ‘get’ where he is coming from – we’ve had some really good conversations.’ In fact more than this – the two of them are now working collaboratively on a key project rather than the ‘points scoring’ they had been doing before. This has had a huge impact on the morale and energy in the team.
You see where I’m going with this.
One of the most powerful exercises we do with teams who want to strengthen trust is to help them get to know each other on a personal level a bit more – this is why team events often involve some ‘down time’ so the team can get to know each other socially or some ‘pair’ exercises to do the same. Teams often tell us this is one of the most powerful things they have done.
The ‘simplest things’ can start to make the biggest difference.
Now, I don’t want to be overly simplistic here. If you have some real concerns with lack of trust in your team then you may need to seek some external help (you know where I am!).
And ask yourself: What is the impact of doing nothing?
I hope you’ve enjoyed the last few articles on building trust which is one of the building blocks to your resilient team.
Next time…. Team Resilience and ‘Candid and Open Conversations’