Barrier to Trust

downloadThe foundation for teamwork is trust. Trust for many teams, however, is a vague concept which in turn means that it is not intentionally built within teams.

Given the importance of trust, it is vital that we understand what components contribute to the building of it. Our work with teams lately has reinforced our belief that trust is essentially made up of the following elements:

Credibility: Credibility is built through our track record, or the consistency of our performance over time. Our credibility ensures that people feel are able to trust our ability to deliver on tasks and projects. Their trust in us will be based on past experience hence the need for consistency.

Authenticity: Authenticity is being true to who we are rather than tailoring our behavior to suit the expectations of others. Being authentic sets us up to behave in a way that is true to ourselves which is far more sustainable than trying to live and behave in a way that is just not us. It is this consistency in our behavior that builds trust.

Vulnerability: Vulnerability is about owning what we struggle with. When we are vulnerable we are not afraid to make mistakes or to be wrong. More importantly we are willing to talk about that and work with those around us to ensure that limitations are dealt with and we grow into more of your potential. No one is perfect and it is always easy to see through the ‘I am perfect’ mask.

Selfish intent: Selfish intent is about exactly that – our selfishness. Are we just using our team members and those we work with for our own selfish reasons? Do we see others as a means to an end to achieve our objectives, no matter the impact on them? Selfish Intent is about our attention and focus. Are we obsessed by our own desires to succeed or win, and by our insecurities? Or do we truly focus on the other person, paying attention to whatever it is that helps them succeed. Selfish intent is the major diluter of trust.

Moving away from a selfish intent means we care about and are committed to those around us. We desire to create more value not just for ourselves but for our team.

Given the above, our work with teams has been about developing the team member’s ability to build trust by increasing their levels of credibility, authenticity and vulnerability whilst at the same time decreasing their selfish intent.

Trust is built. And as we have said, trust is the backbone of any effective team.

Author: Don Muller