Trust is essential for strong teams and highly effective performance. When trust is present, we will believe that our team members are sharing their thoughts to help and we will be open to hearing new ideas. Trust allows us to have healthy disagreements and present varied views. Unique perspectives stretch our thinking and can lead to improved approaches we could otherwise miss if we were not open to listening.
On the other hand, if we as leaders mistrust our teams, we will not be open to their perspectives, nor will we seek to empower them. We will be suspicious of whether they are working when not in the office and suppose that they are not engaged. With a lack of trust, we tend to micromanage our team’s work and try to control decisions and outcomes.
Likewise, team members will not follow a leader they do not trust. Teams will feel leaders have only their own interests at heart and mistrust their intentions. Even when a leader does something positive, team members may mistrust their motives and question whether they have a hidden agenda.
Mistrust divides. Without trust, we cannot work together to achieve important goals. Trust unifies us around a mission and purpose. Trust leads us to assume the best intent of others even if we don’t understand their reasoning. Yes, we earn trust but until we choose to assume good intentions, the smallest things will divide us and defeat us.
Trust also allows us to approach others quickly to resolve misunderstandings. Unresolved conflict can quickly escalate and make it impossible to be productive. It is uncomfortable to confront issues, but with a trusting relationship we can discuss differences in good faith. When trust exists on a team, it fuels our creativity, innovation, and ability to navigate challenges.
For more information on trust and its impact on a team, view this 2 minute video clip by Patrick Lencioni that highlights how foundational trust is to high functioning teams.
Let’s choose to be committed to trusting others and watch our team excel!