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Entries from March 2017

The absence of trust and how it affects team performance

30th March 2017

The absence of trust - team development

The absence of trust in a team prevents  you as a leader achieving the best that you can be individually and collectively.

Great teams don’t happen by accident. They need work from everyone involved. As a leader it’s down to you to lead the way…

I’m a great fan of Patrick Lencioni’s work. He developed a model on the 5 causes that prevent a team functioning at its optimum level. The foundation of this model is the absence of trust.

Patrick say’s “ Members of great teams trust one another on an emotional level and are comfortable being vulnerable with each other.”

Great teamwork isn’t an intellectual process, it’s an experiential one. It doesn’t involve following a step-by-step process. It’s about connecting with others and we are all different!

Team members who trust each other are comfortable being open and sharing their feelings – whether they are positive or negative e.g. fear, frustration, excitement, optimistic.

To what degree are you comfortable being vulnerable with the team you are a leader of, or indeed a team you are a member of?

What to do if there is no trust

 It starts by being prepared to be vulnerable. This simply means being prepared to be truthful about who you are. For example saying “I don’t know how to do this’ or “I’ve never come across this before’, or “I made a mistake”.

You can do this in everyday conversations, however this alone will not effectively build trust across the team. One simple thing to do, which most organisations and leaders fail to do, is take time out. Have meetings and off-sites that aren’t about tasks and things to do, but about how we work together.

In preparing consider the environment you want to create. What is the message you want to give? Do you want people to me open and honest or hide ‘stuff’.

As a leader get comfortable with feeling exposed – putting yourself out there and being the leader!

The key ingredient is courage.

Are you prepared to take a risk without the guarantee of success?

Tools you could use

Here are some ideas to get you started:

Sharing personal histories There are several ways of doing this from sharing some personal information; your family, hobbies and challenges you’ve overcome through to a timeline of key events which led you to be the person you are today. The method you choose will vary depending on how developed the team is.

Behavioural profiling There are many tools to do this and one of my ‘go to’ tools is the Myers Briggs Type Indicator (MBTI). Whatever tool you use, the aim is to get to know each other better. What motivates you as individuals. This is also a great building block to identify potential conflicts in the team.

Reviewing team performance You can do this on a monthly or quarterly basis. Ask each team member to appraise the performance of the team. What worked, what didn’t work and how could each individual have contributed differently to deliver an enhanced level of performance?

Developing an effective team takes time and it’s never a one off event. If you have ever worked in a really effective team you know the benefits it brings.

If you are struggling in getting your team to achieve it’s potential and would like some support email me to set up a free discovery call and we can explore new pathways.

“When a gifted team dedicates itself to unselfish trust and combines instinct with boldness and effort, it is ready to climb.”



What’s trust got to do with leadership?

16th March 2017

Building Trust


What has trust got to do with leadership?

Well everything!

Leadership is about connecting with others hearts and minds. To get people to follow you in one way, shape or form. Those followers may be your team, your peers, your stakeholders, your manager, your customers or even potential team members…

What is trust?

A dictionary definition of trust is ‘ a firm belief in the reliability or ability of someone’. It’s not something you can hold. It’s one of those intangible qualities that is confirmed by an internal check. It’s not automatic. You have to earn the trust of another and it takes time to build.

It’s also a foundation piece of your personal brand. A great brand is trusted and relied upon by its’ users in any field of work and life.

How do you build trust?

Trust has many levels and it will depend on the context. For example; I may trust you to drive my car but not fix my washing machine; or I may trust you to do some detailed analysis but not to present to the Board.

This brings me to the first way to build trust – competence. Are you competent in the area of work, topic for discussion? Do you have the right amount of knowledge and skills? Are you able to demonstrate you can do what is required?

If you can demonstrate your competence then you’re part way there.

Another element to building trust being consistent. Are you consistent in the way you deliver, behave and communicate? If you are consistently late or don’t finish things you won’t necessarily get people on your side. They are unlikely to trust you to deliver and may request more updates and check on progress more frequently.

Finally, there is commitment. Are you committed to the task in hand, the team, and the organisation? Commitment is driven by your motivation and what’s important to you. It has an energetic quality that people intuitively pick up.

What can you do when trust is broken?

Trust is often broken when you have failed to demonstrate one or all of the above elements – competence, consistency or commitment. In many situations it is possible to regain it, however it won’t happen automatically. You can’t talk your way out of a problem that was created by behaviour. You have to behave your way back into trust.

The first step, if it’s possible, is to have a conversation. If you know the behaviour that created this ‘problem’, apologise and clarify what you will do differently. If you don’t know, or are not clear, seek feedback and agree a way forward.

My advice is to take action quickly. Distrust creates suspicion. People become more guarded and this can perpetuate into a downward spiral. None of us want that do we?

Trustworthy Leadership

When you gain peoples trust and seen as trustworthy things happen more quickly and costs go down. If you are not convinced of this look at those relationships where you know you are trusted. I’m guessing you take less time getting their buy-in and things happen quicker and more smoothly than it does with those whom you are just starting to build trust with.

How good are you at building and earning the trust of others?

  • Are you as a leadership brand trustworthy?
  • Can you be relied upon?
  • Do you feel those in your network trust you?
  • If not what’s your first step to changing the situation?

Trust takes time to build and can be destroyed in an instant.The benefits outweigh the costs, gaining and maintaining trust will enable you to be much more effective and efficient in all that you do.

“Anything that has value in life only multiplies when it is given.”

Deepak Chopra

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