Building Trust

How do you foster trust?

  • Own your contribution to an issue / mistake.
  • Do what you are responsible for as best as you can.
  • Acknowledge and leverage the strengths of those you work with.
  • When issues arise / mistakes happen and are acknowledged, course correct.
  • When unsure about something said or done by another person, go to them first to discuss (being curious without blaming can be very effective).
  • Hire leaders who possess and know how to identify high integrity in others / Do not accept leaders who break integrity.
  • Be truthful (this does not mean “brutally honest” but delivering and communicating with “accuracy and rightness”).

Destroying Trust

Here are a few ways that trust can be eroded:

  • Sugar coating information.
  • Discounting skills and talents of those you work with.
  • Blaming others when something does not go as planned.
  • Speaking negatively about others when they are not around.
  • Keeping pertinent information to oneself vs. sharing broadly.
  • Breaking commitments without early and clear explanations. 
  • Making presumptions about others without sincerely listening to them.
  • Being focused on winning at all costs / being determined to get even with someone.
  • Not recognizing when you are excluding someone / justifying when you exclude someone.

Which is first: Trust or Conflict

In the book Five Dysfunctions of a Team Patrick Lencioni presents five principles that provide the foundation for a functional team.  His first component of dysfunctional teams is “absence of trust”. His second is “fear of conflict”.

I agree that these two elements are required foundational elements for a team to be productive.  I also believe that these two elements are so closely intertwined that one cannot necessarily be clearly placed in front of the other: 

In order to trust each other, teams much feel comfortable engaging in disagreements and conflict; In order to engage in disagreements and conflict, teams must trust each other.

In the next couple posts, we’ll look at some very specific examples on how trust can be broken as well as ways to build trust.