High trust is the key to high performance teams

By Dr John Demartini, business and human behavioural expert

Whether you’re a small business owner or CEO of a large enterprise, the ability to build a team of experienced and skilled individuals is essential to your success. Often, though, we forget one crucial element central to establishing a productive work environment: trust. Without it, your team will lack cohesion, and effectiveness will be compromised.

Creating a high trust team isn’t difficult; nor is establishing trust. It’s simply the by-product of honouring your team members’ highest values; that which is most important to them. Take the first step towards building trust by exhibiting an understanding your staff’s highest values; then show each staff member how they can contribute to their own wellbeing and development as well as that of the team as a whole.

Stop fearing failure

The long-standing belief that failure should be avoided at all costs often works against us. Allowing your team to make so-called ‘mistakes’ gives them room to learn and grow, so they’ll be less likely to ‘fail’ in the future. This benefits your staff as well as your business, because they trust that you’ll give them the freedom to challenge themselves, be creative and pick themselves up after experiencing the feedback we perceive as ‘failure’.

Avoid micromanaging

Loosening the reigns will quell your team’s anxieties and show that you trust their abilities. Give your staff more responsibility and delegate tasks that exceed their current skillset or knowledge, and they’ll be encouraged to step outside their comfort zone in their efforts to prove their potential and keep your trust. In doing so, they’ll achieve things they never thought possible.

Encourage debate

Surrounding yourself with likeminded, supportive employees who agree with your ideas may provide a great (fake) self-esteem boost, but it’s also counterproductive. 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 spark new ideas and fresh innovation that may yield outstanding results.

Provide regular feedback

Don’t wait until formal reviews to offer feedback. This deprives your staff of the opportunity to improve and develop their areas of weakness; it also creates fear and distrust and can put a damper on employee morale and productivity. Your staff will appreciate your timeous constructive criticism, and will be encouraged to seek your guidance and help in the future. The ultimate result? An environment with less stress and conflict.

Get personal

Allowing your team a glimpse into your personal life – and encouraging them to offer the same – creates a more relaxed, comfortable work environment that naturally coaxes the best from your employees. Trust not only gives rise to strong teams; it also cultivates a cooperative, productive work environment that allows your business to grow and prosper.