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So, You Want Trust on Your Team...

A diagram of intelligence

Trust is a kaleidoscope of actions, attitudes, and behaviors

Every business leader, team leader, and organization leader that I work with wants “trust” on their teams. But what exactly does that word mean to the leader, as well as each team member? The quick response might be "honesty" and "integrity." But like the word "trust," honesty and integrity often have different interpretations. 

Almost without fail, each team member will see “trust” through a different lens. “Sam’s” interpretation will be different than “Denisha’s,” whose will be different from “Rob’s,” whose interpretation will be different from “Lori’s” and so on. Team members have many and varied ways in which they describe what it means to trust and be trustworthy. 

In my work as a team coach, trust is virtually never defined the same way by each team member. Rather it has a whole kaleidoscope of behaviors, actions, meanings, feelings, and assumptions attached to it. Saying, “I want trust on my team,” is like saying I want to lose 10 pounds - we know how that goes. Wanting it doesn’t make it happen. We create “trust” on our teams when we define what “trust” looks like in action.

Here are a few ways that team members I work with describe what trust looks like in action: “We own our responsibilities.” “We follow through on our promises.” “We assume the best in our teammates.” “We are on time.” “We do not engage in criticism or blame.” “We have each other’s backs.” “We hold ourselves accountable.” And the list goes on.

Of course, every team wants “trust” and needs trust. It is the very foundation for team success – to complete the team objective. But trust has any number of interpretations. How do you as the leader demonstrate trust? What does trust in action look like to the members of your team? Have you asked them?   Click here and learn how you can build trust on your team.


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