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“There is probably no quality or characteristic that is as rare as trust.” Patrick Lencioni

What is Trust?

The formal definition of trust is ‘the assured reliance on the character, ability, strength or truth of someone or something.’ But really, trust is about vulnerability.

In fact, we think Patrick Lencioni’s definition is way more impactful. In his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, Lencioni states,

“When it comes to teams, trust is all about vulnerability. Team members who trust one another learn to be comfortable being open, even exposed, to one another around their failures, weaknesses and fears. Now, if this feels a little touchy-feely, that’s not where I’m going with it. Vulnerability-based trust is predicated on the simple – and practical – idea that people who aren’t afraid to admit the truth about themselves are also not going to engage in the kind of political behavior that wastes everyone’s time and energy, and more importantly, makes the accomplishment of results an unlikely scenario.

Based on his work with thousands of teams, he’s seen time and again that trust is the foundation for cohesive, collaborative, and productive teams. So how exactly do you go about building that trust?

Trust and Self-Reflection

Self-reflection is key to building trust, so first, consider your own experience with trust. Maybe you have broken someone else’s trust, or maybe yours was broken. Either way, you can learn from what happened. To do so, consider the following:

  • How did it feel?
  • How did it affect the relationship?
  • Were you able to repair the relationship after the trust was broken?

Repairing relationships isn’t easy but the effort is worth it. No matter what your current role is, you need good working relationships and building trust is the only way to get there.  

Vulnerability = Trust 

Second, learn to be vulnerable with your teammates. That might be a bit scary for some. I mean, people don’t usually think: Hey! Let’s go be vulnerable at work today! 

Said no one ever…

Instead, try thinking of vulnerability as being able to be authentic. Help your teammates understand why you do what you do. Giving insight to others about what you prioritize, what motivates you, and what stresses you out will help them understand you more, building better relationships. And FYI, all of that is related to your personality type. The Everything DiSC™ model describes the four major personalities as: 

  • Dominance: Direct, forceful, lack of concern for others, impatience, insensitive
  • influence: Talkative, disingenuous, impulsive, lack of follow-through, disorganized
  • Steadiness: Slow to respond, acquiescent, too accommodating, avoid changes, indecisive
  • Conscientiousness: perfectionist, over analytical, skeptical, overly critical, keeps to themselves

Understanding how your personality type typically shows up can help you understand how others might perceive you. And those perceptions might be causing trust issues on your team. 

Get To Know Your Team Personally

Third, if you want to develop trust with your coworkers, get to know them personally. I don’t mean superficial stuff like their name or role in the company.  I’m talking about taking the time to understand who they are and why they show up the way they do. So, find out what drives them, what their aspirations are, what they’re passionate about, where they’re from, whether or not they have a family, etc. All people want to feel that they’re worth knowing. Understanding what makes them tick will give you clues as to how to motivate teammates better and ease their stress, so that they work better on the team. 

To Wrap It All Up

Building trust takes time and effort but the rewards outweigh the cost. Just remember that team members who trust each other are more comfortable being open to one another around their failures, weaknesses and even fears. When you can talk about these things honestly, you’ll be able to work together to solve team issues. Again, the three steps to practice are

  1. Self-Reflection: think through your own trust experiences to learn from them.
  2. Personality: understand the motivators, stressors, strengths & struggles (yours and your teammates) and lastly,
  3. Vulnerability: set the example for being authentic so others will follow 

Individually, we are each responsible for doing our part to build trust on our teams. Of course, it won’t happen overnight, so start small so it won’t be overwhelming. For example, choose a different commitment each week, until they become second nature. With persistence you’ll get there. Ultimately, we have to be the change we want to see in the workplace and that starts with TRUST. 

Want to give your team the gift of a full day session focused on building a cohesive and collaborative team? Choose The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ training. You’ll get 

  • An in depth assessment of how the team is functioning based on the five behaviors: trust, productive conflict, commitment, accountability and results. 
  • A full day session including team building activities for setting team norms around each of the behaviors and
  • 3, 6 and 12 month post training comparison reports to show progress as well as areas that may still need improvement

Schedule a discovery call to learn more and decide if The Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team™ training is right for you. Remember, you have to be the change. The culture (r)evolution starts with you!

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