Last month I wrote on Commitment to the Team. We explored what commitment on a team looks like. The perspective I was writing from was ‘are your actions matched to your pledge of commitment’. This month, I am exploring the softer side of commitment, which is primarily wrapped up in the relationship.
I have heard it said that relationships move at the speed of trust. What does this mean? Simply put, the higher the level of trust in a relationship, the more growth and vitality! What creates trust? I suppose that is a million dollar question that has as many answers as there are people in the world. Trust can look very different to each of us. For me, trust shows up in consistency of agreed-upon behaviors. For others, I know trust shows up in physical presence while for another it may be the ‘proof’ of something for them to feel trust.
The more relationships in a ‘system’ (meaning the team), the more complexities to establishing ‘trust’. I have outlined a few practices that I have found to be foundational to moving a team of relationships forward in trust.
Transparency: know what you stand for!
When people know what you stand for — whether they agree or not — they are more inclined to trust. Transparency in the ‘why and what’ of decisions that impact the team will contribute to a high level of trust among team members. Most team members understand that they will not always be in agreement with the parties making decisions. However, if they have an understanding of what went into the decision-making process and why that decision was made, it takes away the feeling of a hidden agenda and ulterior motives.
Being reliable is often demonstrated by the consistency between what you say you will do and what you actually do. The higher the level of consistency, the more people can count on you, the higher the level of reliability. When something is reliable or dependable, we tend to trust it. Researchers trust the reliability of research where there is a pattern of consistency in the statistics of the research. As people in relationship, we tend to trust the reliability of another person if there is a pattern of consistency in what they say they are going to do or in how they are going to be and if their actions match up to that pattern.
There is a difference between a directive and direct communication. Direct communication is clear, articulate and constructive in nature. It helps to give direction and feedback in a positive way by using language that is neutralized and not charged. Charged language is heavy with judgment and biases. Direct communication takes concerns to the source of the concern and keep the communication between the parties involved. When team members experience a healthy atmosphere of direct communication, it helps to build trust and intimacy among team members because the communication is where it belongs.
A team may have core values and beliefs that everyone is in agreement on; however, that does not mean that individuals have the same values and/or beliefs. Our values and beliefs drive our thoughts and feelings that in turn drive our behavior. When someone shows up differently, instead of choosing to be in judgment of their difference, get curious about what is important to them or what they believe on the subject at hand. This will foster an environment of respect.
In an environment of transparency, reliability, communication and respect, trust has the opportunity to take root and grow. If relationships move at the speed of trust and you want your team to be growing and vital, then I encourage you to give these practices a place in your business.