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A Successful Team is Built on Trust!

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Successful teamwork is built on a foundation of trust. Each member of the team must establish trust, cultivate trust through his actions and words, and work to maintain it. Each member also needs to be able to trust his team members to make a commitment to the team and its goals, work competently with those goals in mind, and communicate consistently about any issues that affect the team.

I’ve found there are five excellent ways for leaders to build trust into their teams, and five quick ways to lose it. First let’s consider how to create it.

  1. Establish and maintain integrity. It is the foundation of trust in any organization. Integrity must begin at the top and then move down. This means, among other things, keeping promises and always telling the truth, no matter how difficult it might be. If its people have integrity, an organization can be believed.
  2. Communicate vision and values. Communication is important, since it provides the artery for information and truth. By communicating the organization’s vision, management defines where it’s going. By communicating its values, the methods for getting there are established.
  3. Consider all employees as equal partners. Trust is established when even the newest rookie, a part-timer, or the lowest paid employee feels important and part of the team. This begins with management not being aloof, as well as getting out and meeting the troops. This should be followed by leaders seeking opinions and ideas (and giving credit for them), knowing the names of employees and their families and treating one and all with genuine respect.
  4. Focus on shared, rather than personal goals. When employees feel everyone is pulling together to accomplish a shared vision, rather than a series of personal agendas, trust results. This is the essence of teamwork. When a team really works, the players trust one another.
  5. Do what’s right, regardless of personal risk. We all know intuitively what’s “right” in nearly every situation. Following this instinctive sense, and ignoring any personal consequences will nearly always create respect from those around us. From this respect will come trust.

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