TRUST: The Foundation Stone of a Successful Team

A silhouette of two climbers on a rock face, one holding onto the other to prevent him falling

Why is trust such a vital ingredient of teams?

We have recently been supporting two clients in their quest to optimise their performance culture, utilising Patrick Lencioni’s ‘Five Behaviours’ model as a benchmark. Despite each organisation reporting slightly different macro challenges, collaboration is central to their success.

The model follows the parable outlined in Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, and looks like this:

Today we focus on the foundation stone of the model: TRUST

Why Trust?

Trust is the glue that binds individuals together and, in the context of organisational teams, it is the foundation upon which productive and harmonious work environments are built. We all acknowledge that trust is vital, but what does it look like and how does it contribute to overall success?

Predictive Trust or Vulnerability-based Trust?

When we pose the question “What do you look for to know that Trust is present?”, we often receive answers such as: “I have seen them perform well in the past”; “They generally deliver on time”; “I know that I can rely on them to come through on commitments”. Lencioni refers to this style of trust as PREDICTIVE

Investigating the question further by asking “How do you behave and communicate with others when you know that Trust is present?”, we start to tease out answers such as: “I feel more comfortable to say when I don’t understand something or when to ask for help”; “I feel safe to share when I have made a mistake”; “I am happy to apologise”; “I feel comfortable saying whenI can’t meet someone’s needs”. Lencioni refers to this style of trust as VULNERABILITY-BASED. This foundation of trust creates a platform for safe exposure, knowing that respect will remain and judgement will be avoided – this is where high-performance gets an opportunity to flourish.

Trust Enhances Collaboration

When team members trust one another, they are more likely to share ideas, resources, and expertise without fear of judgment or betrayal. This creates an environment where innovative solutions can be developed and implemented collaboratively.

Trust Facilitates Open Communication

Team members who trust one another feel comfortable expressing their thoughts, concerns, and feedback without reservation. This transparency leads to clearer, more effective communication, which, in turn, helps prevent misunderstandings and conflict.

Trust Boosts Productivity

When team members trust each other, they can focus on activity without worrying about hidden agendas or ulterior motives. This peace of mind allows individuals to work more efficiently, leading to better outcomes for the team as a whole.

Trust Fosters Employee Engagement

When people believe that colleagues have their best interests at heart, they are more likely to be committed to their work, take initiative, and contribute to the team’s success. This engagement has a positive impact on overall team performance.

Trust Improves Decision-Making

When trust is present, team members are more willing to listen to and consider the perspectives of others. This diversity of thought can lead to well-rounded, informed decisions that take into account a broader range of factors and viewpoints.

Trust Builds Resilience

Trust is especially crucial during challenging times. In the face of setbacks, a high-trust team can weather difficulties more effectively. Trust also fosters resilience, as team members have confidence in each other’s ability to work together to overcome obstacles and adapt to changing circumstances.

Trust Enhances Reputation

A team known for its trustworthiness and integrity is more likely to attract and retain top talent. It also tends to enjoy a positive reputation in the market, which is a significant asset in building relationships with clients, partners, and investors.

Vulnerability-Based Trust is a STRATEGIC IMPERATIVE. Organisations that prioritise developing and embedding this style of trust within their teams are more likely to create environments where innovation, cooperation, and productivity thrive, ultimately leading to greater success and sustainable growth.

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