Ironically, when a team lacks energy or results are lagging, most managers trust less, not more. After all, there’s a lot at stake. And yet, time and time again, we see the teams with the biggest turnarounds have one thing in common – their leader believes in the team’s ability to accomplish the extraordinary and places real team trust in the people to make it happen.
Today we share five trust-building tips for teams which lead to better results.
Believe in Them
We watched Sam, a manager in a small nonprofit, handle this masterfully with his direct report. The organization worked to ensure water quality in mountain streams. Laura, a free spirit who cared passionately about her people and clean water, managed a team of paid engineers and volunteer inspectors.
She worked hard but her team wasn’t satisfied with her performance. They wanted to see her in the field more; she didn’t know how she could make them happy, and she didn’t feel she was making a big enough impact in a cause she cared deeply about.
She came into Sam’s office, slumped down in a folding chair, and declared, “I’m done.” She said she would turn in her resignation. She’d lost faith in her ability to be effective.
Sam was devastated. She was one of his rock stars. How had he missed conveying that to her?
Sam did not accept her resignation. “You may have lost your belief in yourself, but you have a problem,” he said. “I do? What’s that?” Laura inquired.
“I still believe in you. You can quit on yourself, but don’t expect me to quit on you.”
Of course, that conversation was only the start. It eventually led to Laura’s taking a more balanced view of her accomplishments and gaining the confidence she needed to continue her vital work.
Trust-Building Tip #1: Show trust by believing in their capabilities.
Set Audacious Goals
Oh sure, your team may grumble, but managers who win well know there’s no greater gift you can give your team than leading them toward head-turning results.
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Set the bar high and then tell them, “I believe in you. I know what this team is capable of. Now let’s figure out just how we can make this happen together.”
Trust-Building Tip #2: Show trust by believing it’s possible.
Invite Them to Come Along
Early in her career, one of Karin’s first bosses, Gail, brought Karin with her to senior-level meetings, arguing that “no one could explain it better” than she could. Of course, that wasn’t true; Gail was a seriously gifted explainer.
She trusted Karin would do okay and was secure enough to give up the spotlight. It’s amazing how many bosses are afraid to give such opportunities to their teams.
Trust-Building Tip #3: Show trust by sharing the stage.
Admit What You Don’t Know
Show your team trust by admitting you don’t have all the answers. Trust them with your concerns. You’ll be surprised how your people rise to the occasion when you trust them with your questions.
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Trust-Building Tip #4: Show trust by being real.
Encourage Them to Meet Without You
A great way to show trust in your team is to give them a big hairy problem and ask them to meet to figure it out. Get any information, criteria, and parameters they may need out of your head and into theirs first—otherwise they’ll spin their wheels. Be sure to define what success looks like and be optimistic about their abilities to work together to solve the problem.
Trust-Building Tip #5: Show trust by getting out of the way.
Trust Begets Team Trust
If you want your team to accomplish more, set your standards high. Use our five tips as the starting point for building team trust in your organization. Now it’s your turn to reflect on ways trust can help you achieve extraordinary results with your team.