If your team is struggling in some capacity — to hit goals, communicate, or get along — an underlying trust issue may be the culprit. Maybe your team even had trust at one point, but without maintenance, and under the added pressure of a pandemic, it faltered. Or, you never had it to begin with, thinking it was more of a fringe benefit of success, rather than a predetermining factor. Whatever your unique situation, it’s not too late to remediate a lack of trust.
There are some clear choices you can make to begin building trust. It really does help to think of it as a foundation upon which you lay below all the other choices that make up your organization. It’s helpful to break it down into actions, as described by Predictive Index (P.I.).
Leadership should be able to talk about team values, afterall, how can employees know what kind of behaviors make a model employee for you if you don’t tell them? If you have a clear understanding of your values, you can reward those who meet them with acts of excellence, inspiring more acts of excellence. This should happen at a team level, not just a company level, as each team can have different values. After you’ve determined your values — something you can establish with the whole team— begin the cycle of encouragement and reinforcement to stay true to your word.
Trust requires the ability to speak freely. If there’s a wall up, it can stifle collaboration, engagement, and the highly beneficial practice of constructive criticism. On the part of the leader, this requires an understanding of individual team member’s communication preferences. Some need that face-to-face (or screen-to-screen) discussion. Others open-up more via written communication like Slack or email threads. To test this out, vary the format of your meetings and ask for feedback. Above all, be honest about your effort to improve communication, and be willing to make changes based on what feedback you receive.
Regular meetings can be a vehicle to establish team values and foster open communication. In general, they’re a great way to establish connections and build trust. Especially these days, when many employees are working from home. A weekly team meeting might not be enough, in which case, supplement group meetings with individual check-ins as. Frequent 1-on-1s promote healthy, aligned relationships. Remember, these don’t need to be formal. Focus on the person, and listening to the person, over their tasks.
Trust will make it so much easier to accomplish your goals. There’s really no way around that, and truthfully, why would you want there to be? To learn more about how you can build trust on your team, reach out to Meddlers.