Why high trust is the key to high performance teams - HR Future helps people prepare for the Future of Work and is South Africa's leading print, digital and online Human Resources magazine.

Why high trust is the key to high performance teams

Whether you’re a small business owner or CEO to a large enterprise, building a team of experienced and skilled individuals is essential to your success.

But we often forget one crucial element to establishing a productive work environment – trust. Without it, your team cannot work cohesively and effectively.

Creating a high trust team doesn’t have to be difficult, and establishing trust is simply the by-product of honouring your team member’s highest values – what it is that is most important to them. By allowing each member of staff to understand how they can contribute to themselves as well as the team is the first step towards building trust.

So how do you build a high trust team? Understanding your staff’s highest values is one of many stepping stones to establishing trust.

1. Stop fearing failure

The long-standing belief that failure should be avoided at all costs to achieve success, can often work against you. Allowing your team to make so-called ‘mistakes’ gives them room to learn and grow, and they’ll be less likely to ‘fail’ in the future. This will be advantageous not only to your business but to your staff, as they will trust that you’ll give them the freedom to challenge themselves, be creative and pick themselves up after experiencing ‘failure’ or what is actually feedback.

2. Avoid micromanaging

Loosening the reigns to avoid becoming the dreaded micro-manager will quell your team’s anxieties and show that you trust their abilities. Give your staff more responsibility and delegate tasks that may go beyond their current skillset or knowledge. They will go above and beyond to prove their potential and keep your trust, encouraging them to step outside their comfort zone and achieve things they never thought possible.

3. Encourage debate

Surrounding yourself with likeminded, supportive employees who agree with your ideas, while a great false self-esteem boost, can become counterproductive. And you will quickly find yourself leading a team of blind followers, rather than innovative individuals. This will hinder the progression and growth of your business and stifle your staff’s potential and creativity. Allow your staff to respectfully disagree with you, this shows you trust their opinions and insights. Encouraging lively debate will present you with alternatives and new ideas that will work in your business, and your team’s best interests. Greater still, staff will speak up more and challenge you, proving they trust both you and themselves.

4. Provide regular feedback

Giving feedback outside of formal reviews will help you determine your staff’s strengths and weaknesses and help them develop in areas that require improvement. There’s nothing more disheartening than a team member sitting down for a formal review only to realise they’ve been completing a task inadequately all along. And even more disheartening; that they’ve been repeating costly ‘mistakes’ for months. This creates fear and distrust and can put a damper on employee morale and productivity. Address concerns immediately and provide constructive criticism and feedback. Your staff will appreciate this and will seek your guidance and help in the future, creating an environment with less stress and conflict.

5. Get personal

A great way to build trust is to encourage your team to bond with each other. Start by sharing the most meaningful aspects of your personal life, whether it be a hobby or a humourous anecdote. Your staff will open up and provide insight into their lives that will help your team work more effectively together and establish a more comfortable, relaxed work environment.
 
Strong teams are built on high trust and will create a cooperative, productive work environment, allowing your business to grow and prosper.

Dr John Demartini is a business and human behavioural expert.

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