Anyone who has hung around me much, knows my focus on love. It is a key factor to any successful relationship. Having said that, love can’t happen unless there is trust. How does trust effect your teams?
I recently read a summary by Ken Blanchard and I love his outlook on trust. He calls it the A,B,C,Ds… When people have trust they will resemble these attributes:
Able– Demonstrate Competence. When your team understands your directions and believe in where they are going, they show their competence. People show they are able when they have the expertise needed for their job, role, or position. They consistently achieve results and are effective problem solvers and decision makers. Demonstrating competence inspires others to have confidence and trust in you.
Believable – Act with Integrity. Trustworthy people are honest with others. They behave in a manner consistent with their stated values, treat people fairly, and behave ethically. “Walking the talk” is essential in building trust in relationships.
Connected – Care About Others. Being connected means focusing on people, having good communication skills, and recognizing the contributions of others. Caring about others builds trust because people don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.
Dependable – Maintain Reliability. Dependable people follow through on their commitments. They respond timely to requests and hold themselves and others accountable. Not doing what you say you will do quickly erodes trust with others.
These are the characteristics that many look for when building an “high performing” team. So how do we create this level of trust? There are three things I look for, listening skills, humility, and freedom.
Listening is active. The biggest problem I have had personally is I tend to listen with the intent of responding. This has been a hard habit to break, and one I still focus on. The key is listening to LEARN. Take the time to understand, don’t assume, or jump to solutions. Listen to learn means not inserting your opinion and not judging what the person says while he or she is speaking. Many of us are horrible listeners because we’re too busy, we assume we already get the point, we jump to conclusions, we keep adding our own two cents or we just don’t care enough. We need to be better. When we really listen, we build trust. Listening makes us more approachable, and employees will believe we have an open mind and that we’ll both hear and understand them. Employees know when you’re faking it–so it needs to be real.
Action follows if you truly listen. Even if you are trying to encourage that an idea is worth pursuing, or why they should make that decision. Listening is active, not passive.
The next thing to building trust is being humble. Regardless of how smart you are, you don’t know everything and you’ll never have the collective brainpower, knowledge and insight of everyone on your team. So be humble enough to recognize that great ideas come from everyone.
I worked with a salesman who was incredibly intelligent and at times offensive to other team members. It built resentment and frustration, not trust. I asked him to operate under the assumption that there is always the possibility that he could be wrong. I suggest we all operate that way. Be open to improvement, change, innovation and then make sure to highlight others. Never be afraid to admit a mistake, learn from it, and share what you learned. It’s amazing the trust that can be built by giving honest feedback to the true sources of good things.
The last thing I feel you should focus on is giving your team freedom. Truly listening and a little humility should naturally lead to employee freedom. People thrive when they’re open to challenge the status quo and have a meaningful impact on their work. They need freedom to grow, freedom to run, freedom to learn and even freedom to fail.
A culture of freedom, wisely crafted and providing a framework of mission and vision, will lead to an incredible result.
Any positive working relationship is based on trust. If that is the environment you create, you will find a team that has each other’s interest at heart. That is why employees can accept criticism and even anger from a leader they trust. The employees know deep down that the leader really means to help.
Trust is an interesting quality because, once it is lost, it is hard to recapture. Many professional relationships gasped their last breath with the words “I just do not trust you anymore.” Therefore, to have optimum working relationships, all parties must feel a sense of trust.
Freedom forces them to make decisions by themselves and sometimes make mistakes. Thomas Edison once said, “I have not failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that won’t work.” That is my mantra and one of the ideas I want my team to embrace.
The next time someone tells you other things are more important than trust, share it all starts there. You can’t love who you don’t trust!