Patrick Lencioni, author of Five Dysfunctions of a Team, talks about the absence of trust being the first dysfunction. Members of great teams trust one another on a fundamental, emotional level, and they are comfortable being vulnerable with each other about their weaknesses, mistakes, fears, and behaviours. They get to the point where they can be completely open with one another, without filters.
When I first read this it made complete sense and I smugly sat back confident that we have it nailed. Confident we not only have it nailed at Threedom, but also with the vast majority of our clients, because I think I do show weakness and vulnerability. I will admit mistakes. Then I dug a bit deeper……
What I realised was that yes we do have it at Threedom, but we are a small team, with a very similar outlook on work and business. Therefore by default, it is easier to create that trust. What I’ve realised, is that where we do have it with clients, business partners or suppliers, the working relationship is more productive, effective and fun!
Ever inquisitive I started to wonder why?
What gets in the way of trust?
- Previous experiences, assumptions and generalisations - Our previous experiences will always influence current practice. If you’ve never benefitted from a team based on trust then there’s a risk you don’t know even know what it looks like.
- Personal agenda - If your personal agenda is more important to you than the overall team objectives, then trust will be difficult to build.
- Arrogance and selfishness - This kind of trust is based on a desire to support and seek support. Arrogance or selfishness just gets in the way.
- Low confidence and perfectionism - Admitting mistakes, asking for help and showing vulnerability is often difficult for people with low self confidence, particularly if they are prone to seek perfection.
- Personality differences - You won’t like and gel with everyone and not everyone will like you, so when there are personality clashes in a team the trust becomes difficult to build.
- Your own moral compass - Integrity. If you don’t operate with integrity then why would people work with you from a basis of trust?
Where to start
There are clearly many reasons why trust is difficult to create and therefore why many feel it best to leave well alone and concentrate on something less emotionally challenging like the end result. If that is your take you probably have not read this far though so if you do want to make progress where should you start?
Be specific and start with yourself:
- Which team or individual do you want to work towards having a relationship based on trust with?
- What part do you currently play in the absence of trust?
- What causes you to play that part?
- What part do you think the others play?
If you would like some help sprinkling pixie dust feel free to get in touch