A team without trust isn’t really a team: it’s just a collection of staff, working together, like parallel play but for adults.
They often make disappointing progress. They don’t share information. They battle over responsibilities and authority. It doesn’t matter how capable or talented your people are, they may never reach their full potential if there’s no glue to bind them together.
When trust is in place, each individual in the team becomes stronger, more purposeful and more cohesive. When people trust one another, the group can achieve truly meaningful outcomes.
There are ten trust essentials. These are the behaviours and approaches that can either build or destroy trust within a children’s services team and they provide the basis for measuring and managing trust within a team.
Basic trust involves sharing information and having empathy for one another.
Deeper trust involves perceptions of competence and predictability of behaviour. Individual team members are responsible for developing and maintaining trust.
The 10 Trust Essentials
Trust comes from the perception that team members are competent, and so will not let me down. We can trust our team when they can be relied on to do their work to a high standard and are good at what they do.
- Common Ground
Shared background, values, approaches, and interests allow Educators to trust each other. Trust thrives when the individuals in the team work towards common goals rather than a private agenda and share their way of thinking and approaches to work.
This is trust based on the belief that other team members are concerned about individuals overall welfare. They show that they really care about each other and provide support when needed.
- Promise Keeping
Trust grows when team members maintain their promises and do what they say they will do. If Educators are seen as keeping their promises and commitments the trusting bonds will be strengthened.
The amazing German philosopher, Friedrich Nietzsche said, “I’m not upset that you lied to me, I’m upset that from now on I can’t believe you.”
When Educators are reliable and respect the established norms and rules of the team it becomes easy to trust them. If team members’ behaviour is inconsistent or unpredictable then trust may be eroded.
Teams that encourage Educators to say what they think and are tolerant when different or unpopular views are expressed are characterized as teams with a high degree of trust.
This is trust arising from the observation that other team members actively include each other in their social and work activities
To promote trust, individuals should listen and positively respond to ideas and opinions of team members and make decisions in a participative and democratic way.
- Share Information
Trust can come from the fact that other team members share information important to the team proactively and clearly. Trust grows when they exchange information in a transparent and unambiguous way and are open about their needs and reasons.
- Open and Approachable
This is trust based on the observation that other team members share their true feelings and team members can relate to them on a personal level. For trust to thrive Educators need to be ready to reveal personal information about themselves and demonstrate sincerity by sharing their emotions.
This is trust based on the observation that other team members are trusting and co-operative. Trust arrives when individuals support each other in their team efforts.
Trust is like a garden. It takes many hours to grow and nurture. It can also be destroyed quickly with careless actions.
In Stephen Covey’s book “The Speed of Trust” he says “Contrary to what most people believe, trust is not some soft, illusive quality that you either have or you don’t; rather, trust is a pragmatic, tangible, actionable asset that you can create.”
By focusing on the 10 trust essentials you can grow trust in your team. Trust is the one thing that changes everything. During good times, it allows us to communicate and interact without fear of being misinterpreted. During periods of stress and pressure, it allows the relationship to bend, stretch and take the strain without snapping. Trust really is the glue that holds us all together. Without it, your team will flounder. With it, your team will soar.
If you’d like more information on how to build trust in your teams, check out our In-house Leadership Essentials programs