Team-Building: Designing an Effective Business Team – Part 1 of 7

Business meeting

Today we’re starting Part 1 of a 7 Part Series on Team-Building.  Today’s topic is Trust. 

In our strategic planning practice, we see a key differentiator for businesses from their competition is the success of their teams; how effectively they work together, innovate and implement their strategies.  In this series we break down and discuss 7 key components of successful teams. Today’s topic is Trust.

 Trust - Why is it important?

In order for the team to work effectively, there needs to be establishment of trust between all the members that:

  • There is confidence among the team that the intentions of all members are good
  • There is no reason to be protective or careful around the group
  • All members can be vulnerable – not afraid to ask questions for help
  • Each member will be there for the other and the team, doing their best

Without trust:

  • Individual success is more important than group success
  • People don’t share for fear of criticism
  • Communication breaks down
  • Groups become politicized
  • Team lacks commitment

Can you think of examples in work, sports, or life where teams have operated with and without trust? What were the results?

In business a contract cannot be entered into without a statement of understanding and trust between the parties entering into it. When teams are formed, they enter into unwritten contracts to work together towards a common goal in the completion of the assigned task. In most cases the strength of the team is dependent on the diverse skill sets of each individual member and they are brought together for their specialized expertise. If the parties do not all perform at the expected level, the entire team will not function at its best.

How can the team leader develop trust within his or her team? The first step is to show that he/she is trustworthy. By modeling teamwork for his co-workers, he shows them the way and “gives them permission” to let go of personal gain and submit to the greater goals to be accomplished.

This means:

  • Communicating well on tasks, deadlines, and deliverables
  • Being on time and doing his/her part
  • Showing vulnerability
  • Encouraging colleagues
  • Listening well
  • Going above and beyond when necessary

A team that exhibits strong trust is job-focused not politically motivated, however a lack of trust can lead to discord, low morale and high turnover.

 Exercises for increasing trust with a team:

I. Personal Histories

Share your background and expertise. Knowing teammates is the first step to building trust.

II. Team Effectiveness Exercise

Discuss former team experiences. What worked well, what didn’t? What are personal goals for this particular team?

III. Personality & Behavioral Profile

Understand how teammates receive information and communicate. Think about roles they plan and where they can be most effective.

IV. 360 Feedback

Share honestly strengths and weaknesses with teammates.

V. Experimental Team Exercise

Share a team experience out of the office.

Taking the time to develop trust will prepare your team to go above and beyond for one another, with the goal of achieving more than the individuals could on their own.

In our next blog series on Teams, we will talk about the importance of conflict.


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