“Trust comes on foot and goes on horseback,” is a common Dutch saying. This is also often the reason why working together in a team is not at all easy. Therefore, when it comes to teamwork, it is good not only consider the work to be done, but also to look at the synergy or cooperation within the team. How do you go about this?
Every person has unique characteristics, and these differences between people are good. But how can you ensure that everyone can act from their own strengths? And besides everyone’s personal values, what are the shared values that the entire team supports?
Trust is key
Patrick Lencioni describes the dynamics of a team using a pyramid titled “The five dysfunctions of a team”. Let’s take a closer look at this pyramid. Trust is the foundation of any successful team. After all, without trust, you cannot have constructive discussions with each other. Without trust, you cannot commit to a plan. And without trust, team members do not dare to take responsibility. Finally, without trust, there is also no focus on the desired outcome. Conclusion: without trust, you can’t build anything. A team where there is no trust, is hard to get back on track. That’s why you want to build or restore trust before it becomes a problem. To achieve this, you must pay attention to the relationships within the team during all phases of the team. The pyramid shows that when trust is lacking, all sorts of things go wrong in the organization or in teams. This trust plays out on multiple levels:
Trust of team members among themselves
This trust is much needed for daily collaboration within teams because you want to be able to trust that your colleagues are doing their share of the work. Trust between team members is thus necessary to be able to let go of work that someone else picks up, to arrive at the best solution and to work pleasantly together.
Trust of management in the team
Trust from management is needed as a foundation on which to build. When management does not trust a team, you often see “micromanagement” emerge where management constantly monitors the team at every step to ensure that the right things are being done. This creates stress on the team and they are not going to produce a better job from that. If management does not trust a team, it is important to examine what is causing this. Is there perhaps too little knowledge within the team, or have mistakes been made in the past? Or is there a lack of understanding? Without trust from management, you cannot build a good team. So if this is the situation, you as management have a “chicken-and-egg” problem.
Trust between different teams
If there is trust within the team and trust from management, then trust from other teams often follows quickly.
No one size fits all
But how do you go about creating trust within your team? Unfortunately, there is no “one size fits all” solution for this. Fortunately, there are several aspects you can work with:
People are all different, and in a team you need these very differences. There are different ways to express different types of people. An example is the team roles according to Belbin, from which you learn, for example, whether you are a natural “chairperson” who easily indicates procedures and clarifies intentions, or whether you are, for example, a “business man/woman” who ensures that decisions are converted into concrete activities. And then there is the team role “plant,” this is someone who comes up with innovative, creative ideas. When when putting together a team, you want to make sure that the different roles are filled so that team members complement each other. If you have a team that is not functioning well, you can look at which roles are and are not filled and choose to change the composition of the team.
Everyone has their own values. Values I value are “honesty,” “openness” and “autonomy. But that might be different for the colleagues I work with. By understanding each other’s values, you can better respond to each other and thus respect each other’s values. In addition, you can have a conversation with the team about what values you stand for as a team. This ensures that, in addition to having a common goal, you also describe the “how” of the assignment. For example, as a team, you can have values of doing an assignment respectfully but also with courage and curiosity.
Phase a team is in
When you assemble a team or when new team members join, the team will have to re-form. Tuckman’s model describes four stages that teams go through: forming, storming, norming and performing. During the initial stages, there will always be some friction between team members. By taking up that friction as a team and turning it into positivity, you ensure that trust is built.
What one knows, one loves
As a manager, you try to lead your team through the above phases as best you can. No model is perfect. But by discussing “struggles” together you start to get to know and appreciate each other’s weaknesses and strengths better. But when is it best to discuss these issues in your team? That’s what – if your organization works agile – “retrospectives” are for. In these rounds of feedback, you will look back as a team at “where is friction” and “what is working well” and “what is not working well” and learn to give and receive feedback in a respectful way. It is important during these retrospectives to also identify what is going well. After all, the goal is to learn together how to “fly” as a team.
Keep building trust
Nothing comes easy. Neither does trust. That’s why it is important to continue to build trust and build on your team’s strengths. Our advice? Use the strengths of team members. Focus on getting to know each other. And make trust building an integral part of Learning & Improvement within your organization. Because you can’t force trust; it has to grow. And are there disagreements within the team? Then focus on the content and structure the conversation so everyone has their say. Assume everyone’s good intentions. And remember: mistakes are allowed.
Want to know more?
Want to know how to build trust within your team? Then visit www.synergio.nl or give us a call. We are happy to think along with you.