Without trust there is little incentive to commit or to develop camaraderie, morale is diminished, there is less inducement to collaborate, there is unwarranted risk to open communication, there is doubt, there is an unwillingness to take risk, there is limited dialogue and without sufficient dialogue, productivity falters. Without trust there is failure.

How important is trust? CRITICAL. On a scale of 1-10, perhaps a 12. Team members operating in a trusting environment experience greater quality of life which stems from functioning in safe, supportive surrounding which produce positive psychological benefits associated with being a part of a wining or successful team.

The next question might be whether your environment possesses a sufficient level of trust. Such a an answer can be derived with a minimal amount of observation. (See also Top 6 Signs Your Team Lacks Trust).

If the answer to the question is that your environment lacks sufficient trust, then the most pertinent question becomes, “how do we develop greater trust among our team members?”

Developing Trust

The first step is easy and generally inexpensive. Get to know one another. For all the bad press that team building and “spending time together” catches, there is no substitute that will allow us to develop a greater understanding and appreciation for our team members.

For trust to be generated, there must be predictability, the capacity to predict another’s behavior. One way to generate predictability is to understand how your colleague’s perspectives have been developed. People bring different experiences and background with them that effect the way they see the world. Learning answers to questions like, “if money were no issue, what is the one thing you would like to do as another career?” “what is the one thing you believe you are good at”, “what are your hobbies?”, “what is the one thing that you would wish others to know about you?”, “what is the one thing you would like to someday become good at?” “what is the most unusual experience you can say you have had?” (skydiving? traveling in a nuclear sub”, “served as a missionary in a remote African country?”, etc). You get the idea – get to know one another!

Each of the answers to these not-so personal questions allows others to learn about one another and also cracks the door for team members to begin conveying to others their sense of values and principles.

Another way to further teamwork is to conduct a team and individual assessment. Your human resources department may be able to assist with this. One of our preferences is a tool that has been around about 80 years and is known as the DiSC or DiSC Profile. This assessment is a behavioral assessment tool that is both informative and FUN.

The DiSC is designed to assist participants in learning about their own priorities, their motivators and behaviors and to learn about these same elements in their colleagues.  Essentially, the DiSC helps us understand our colleagues and to improve business relationships we have with others.

Charlie SelcerAbout the author: Charlie Selcer has provided organizations with employee training and development through Strictly Success Inc. for over 15 years. Strictly Success is a U.S. based employee training company for both the public and private sectors including some of America’s Fortune 1000 companies. Strictly Success specializes in high performance teams and teambuilding, employee motivation, employee accountability and change management.

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