Fact: Trust is crucial for effective teamwork
It is hardly a controversial point to argue that a team operating without trust is likely to quickly fall apart or fail. Trust between team members is really as critical to overall teamwork as having a great team leader or the commitment of individual team members. With trust, every individual is likely to perform better in their role in the team, and the final output of a project is far more likely to reach its full potential.
Trust is crucial because it means that individual team members believe in the abilities, character and commitment of the rest of their team. This creates a feeling of security that allows people to proceed confidently with their individual tasks, believing that other aspects of the project will be properly taken care of. They will also be comfortable in offering new suggestions and taking measured risks, and will not be concerned that other people are working out of a sense of self-interest.
Building trust within teams should consequently be a key concern for every team leader, and can be achieved through a number of techniques.
Open and honest communication should be the bedrock of trust in teams. Being straightforward with a team helps set a culture where problems are shared, expectations are outlined with clarity, and the suspicion of ulterior motives is minimised. It also allows teams to clearly discuss issues and progress on tasks, allowing for better problem-solving and helping demonstrate the commitment of each individual.
Getting to know a team as people, not simply as employees is also crucial – it is, after all, much easier to trust a person than a rather more abstract concept of a “team member”. Allowing time for a team to actually establish some sort of connection can significantly improve the trust between them, and can remove a great deal of the formality that might exist in the early stages of teambuilding.
Talk about trust
Making trust a central focus, rather than an unspoken issue, can be crucial for making sure it actually develops between individuals. This helps remove any concerns about blame being attributed, or interest groups being formed, and allows team members to express problems openly.
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