Trust is the measure of your willingness to work together with your colleagues. Its often aimed at achieving a common goal. In Patrick Lenccioni’s classic book on team development, the 5 dysfunctions in a Team, he cited absence of trust as the core foundational building block of a dysfunctional team. Trust will invoke risk, opening up to your colleagues and having authentic conversations in the workplace. Hence the key question that you need to ask is “Who are you”, as you take the step forward to build trust.

In our programs taking an OD approach towards managing this phase for Team development will entail, the use of psychometric tools. It is fast and accurate and is modelled against the big 5, providing for 25 traits that can be mapped out for an individual. In the team development programs that we have conducted, the use of traits centric approach for individuals to share what their behavioural preferences are helps team members to navigate misunderstanding, and gain a deeper appreciation of the competencies individuals bring to a team. So do consider such an approach when you work with your teams.

Mitsubishi OD centric program

Slide1 1 Trust matter with teams

This was an Organizational Development centric training program that we conducted for Mitsubishi. This program was conducted over 2 years for this organization. When trust is build you will achieve the following 3 behaviors in the work place

Mutual regard
For trust to sustain in the team, individual need to open up to each others talents, contributions and empathise with each other’s personal challenges. Mutual regard is built over time and it includes making sure, friendship is forged in and outside work. High performing teams are comfortable with each other to the point that they even acknowledge and know the family members of their team.

When trust is strong, people start to share, its like unclogging the arteries and informations starts to flow. You are forthright and authentic in your conversations with each other and you are willing to share your expertise, tell the truth and call out misalignment when you see it. You have confidence in one another, air your views and manage differences in opinions. American and European MNCs, that I have worked wth tend to be forthright and Japanese MNCs slightly subdued.

Trust can only happen if you know enough about your team, their competencies, skill sets and talents that they bring to the table in the best interest of the team. Walk your talk, it’s what you do that counts more than what you say. As a team leader, invest in building the trust of your team. An offsite team bonding session over meals may not cut in deep.

When teams are blocked in this stage, as a leader you will have to manage, facade, mistrust and team members being politically correct in their interactions with you. What are some tell tale signs for teams stuck in this stage? They tend to be;

Skeptical at meetings, passive, silent, and carry a mask like exterior amongst team members. Critical information is usually not shared. Amongst themselves they may even form cliques to help navigate the pressures of work.

As mistrust creeps in, manipulation, and deceit creeps in too. Blame, not seeing the group goals apart from what is needed for your own individual KPIs will resonate strongly. Left to its own devices, you will have the recipe for a perfect brew, that will build a dysfunctional team. Left uncheck this behaviour becomes toxic and very slowly you will start losing good folks in your team. We encourage you to build trust in teams, not through bonding activities, but one that is centred on aligning team trust with organizational goals, that’s what we do, really well.

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About the Author: Ebnu Etheris Ma.IDT, B.Hrd

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Ebnu Etheris, holds a Masters degree in Instructional Design and was part of the pioneering team of executives who saw through the start up of Singapore’s first Budget Airline, Valuair. He was responsible for developing the airline’s Crisis planning systems and initiating blended learning in Flight operations. He works as a Partner with Teamworkbound.

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