Does Your Team Have Trust?

By Kelly L. Ross, MS, PCC

Does your team have trust? When the topic of trust comes up with leaders often the answer is, ‘not so much.’ Or, ‘in some situations.’ How can a leadership be effective in leading and running the organization, and focus on whatever the organization does, if the leaders do not trust one another?  

What does trust mean to you? Do the leaders you work with define trust in the same way?  

Patrick Lencioni, in The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, defines trust in the context of a cohesive team, as: (1) a willingness to be completely vulnerable with one another, and (2) confidence among team members that their peers’ intentions are good and that there is no reason to be protective or careful around the team. See more.

I am preparing to spend a day with a senior leadership team. This will be the first in a series of workshops with the goal of the leadership team becoming more cohesive and effective. The business is growing, they want to preserve their culture as they increase the size of the team, and many on the leadership team are in new, expanded roles. The leader sees that the team needs to focus on these challenges in addition to running the business. As we get ready for the first workshop, all the leaders are reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick Lencioni. I am looking forward to hearing what they want to put into practice from the book.

One of the ways we will discuss increasing trust is to first practice being vulnerable, this will help the leaders know one another as human beings, beyond the job titles they each hold. One way we will do this is to each share a few important moments in our lives and say how this moment shaped or influenced us. The intent is to increase trust through knowing one another a bit more deeply, sharing some of our story, and being vulnerable to let one another really see our humanity.  

For example, I will share that in my three overseas expatriate assignments I had many moments of being scared, feeling alone, and being proud of my courage. I am better for these experiences and a more curious, less judgmental human and leader as a result. 

What will you do to increase trust on your team?

For more about building trust and developing high performance teams, schedule a consultation with Kelly