What Matters Most
“I think it is the toughest thing to get right – being direct and demanding and encouraging and inspiring all at the same time. When I get it right the impact to the business is obvious, but you cannot fake it and it only happens with a leadership team when there is trust.” Halsey Cook, CEO Sonepar Management U.S., Inc.
I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: No trust, no team.
Of course, that depends on how you define the word “team,” whether we’re talking sports, business or family.
You’d be surprised by the subtleties (and assumptions) that comprise different interpretations of that term, one that encompasses much larger concepts of community and collaboration and commitment.
There are a thousand meta-data points that go into deciding to extend our trust or to withhold it. Certainly, honesty and reliability are components, but to sustain trusting relationships there is more at work beneath the surface.
Humility and an ability to own and apologize for mistakes, for example.
Authenticity and sincerity, especially when communicating, is another, and when it comes to building a successful business team, that is the crux, the cornerstone, of a healthy team: they trust each other to be honest, straight-forward and real with each other.
Doesn’t mean they don’t get frustrated, or down, or ornery–everyone experiences those normal human emotions–but they talk it out. Respectfully.
Want to build a team? It comes down to three basic questions people ask themselves (unconsciously) in interactions with others, especially people in positions of leadership:
- Is it safe to be myself (voice my opinions)?
- Do you have my best interests at heart (do you care about me as a person)?
- Are you fair-minded (is our team an equality based meritocracy, and is it in safe hands)?
I’m not saying it’s easy, but it is pretty simple:
Tell the truth. Even when it’s difficult.
Be consistent. Especially when it’s difficult.
And for heaven’s sake, don’t try to fake anything. You need to be authentic; people can smell it when you’re not.
In our busy world, it is both more difficult to earn trust and easier to lose it.
Let the well-being of others—and the team—be foremost in your mind, and you’ll then be able to demonstrate trust in action.
Because that’s the seed that allows it to sprout, and develop the roots required for future growth.