Do You Trust Your Team?

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If someone asked you to name five people you trust, who comes to mind? Family members? Long-time friends?  Neighbors?

What about your co-workers?  Your supervisor?  Your company CEO?

The people you trust most likely have one major thing in common: your personal best interests.

When thinking about this in terms of work, do you feel that your team wants what is truly best for you? If you’re not sure, perhaps you should think about whether your work climate allows for trust within teams.

Why Trust Pays

Research shows that trust pays off in the form of real dollars in a business environment.  In a study of over 500 employees conducted by Interaction Associates, “companies that have a high level of trust among their employees are 2.5 times more likely than those that don’t to be leaders in revenue growth (businessnewsdaily).”  This same study revealed that 82 percent of respondents said that trusting their boss is essential for them to be effective in their job.

But why is this?  Trust is defined as the willingness to accept personal risk based on another person’s actions.  No risk, no reward, right?  Without trust, employees hesitate to take business risks like sharing off-the-wall ideas or venturing into new territory.

Be Wary of Competitive Environments

Where does trust fit into today’s competitive work environment?

There is a fine balance between creating healthy competition within a team and destroying trust through competition. As beneficial as competition can be (think sales, or motivating employees to push for a promotion), it can also be a real detriment to building a trusting work environment.  Here’s why.  If employees think that others are vying for their jobs, they can’t simultaneously believe others have their best interests in mind.

Companies need to use competition wisely.   Christopher Taylor from The Muse recommends this mindset: “Think of your peers as a team with each person playing their own position. Notice who excels at what. Instead of comparing your abilities to theirs, make an effort to embrace, honor, and applaud their efforts—chances are, they’ll do the same for you if you set an example.”  The best way to compete while maintaining trust may be through a team competition or a competition that allows for individual abilities to shine.

Practical Ways to Build Trust within a Team

  1. REFUSE to ever talk about anyone behind their backs. Or text about anyone (think screen shot). Or email about anyone.  This is the quickest way to lose trust.  You may think you are building a bond with someone when you tell them something about someone else, but you are actually showing them that you can’t be trusted.  Why? Because they will wonder if you’ll do the same thing to them someday.  If you’re in a gossip situation, choose to walk away or nod quietly.
  2. HELP your biggest competition. In a dog eat dog world, this might seem counterintuitive, but it is a wonderful way to build trust.  Helping someone you may compete with shows that person and others that you are on board with the big picture of the company instead of just your own career.
  3. Be a real person and admit your mistakes. Most employees or leaders don’t want to look bad in a work environment, but being a real person and admitting mistakes can build trust.  It shows others that they are free to make mistakes too, and creates a more comfortable environment.  Along these lines, leaders should physically be around their employees in non-stressful situations to build trust.  Forbes contributor Liz Ryan says, “If you are a CEO or VP and you’re not spending half your time with non-leadership employees, you are missing out.  You are not connected to your team.”
  4. Follow through with your actions. No one likes to be stood up.  If you say you are going to be there for a meeting or at an event, don’t cancel at the last minute unless it’s a true emergency.  Just don’t commit to something in the first place if you might not attend.  If you say you will complete a task by Tuesday, be sure to complete it on time.

You can trust the team at Artemis Consultants with your recruiting or job search needs because we will always have your best interests in mind.  Please visit our website for a full list of services.

“Trust is a fragile thing.  Easy to break, easy to lose, and one of the hardest things to ever get back (Unknown).”

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