Trust in High-Performing Teams

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We often hear about the importance of trust in a team. It's something that we all understand on a fundamental level, but why is it so crucial to the success of a team?

When we think of high-performing teams, we often refer to them as high-tuned motors, firing on all cylinders. But the reality is much more complex.


Teams consist of people, and people are in relationships within the team. These relationships are built on trust, and trust takes time to develop.



Trust is built up over time in a cycle of differences resolved, agreements made, and promises kept. For example, through a difficult conversation, a specific goal is agreed on within the team. The whole team feels accountable for achieving the goal, and when the goal is achieved, the sense of trust has grown.

Trust means that team members feel safe to speak their minds without fear of exclusion. The opinion of a team member is heard and honored, even if it's not agreed with. The opposite is also true. If there is a threat of reprisal, then unpopular or uncomfortable opinions will not be aired.


So, how can we increase trust within a team? Here are some strategies:


  • Promote Open Communication: Encourage team members to communicate openly and honestly with each other, even when the message may be difficult to hear. Create opportunities for team members to share their thoughts and ideas and be sure to actively listen and respond in a supportive way.


  • Foster Collaboration: Encourage team members to work together on projects and tasks and provide opportunities for them to collaborate in ways that promote mutual support and respect. Celebrate team successes and recognize individual contributions, which will help build a sense of collective accomplishment.


  • Team Agreements: Creating ground rules about what is ok in this team and what is not ok, creates a framework of trust. Maintaining these team agreements is an important part of the work of the team.

In conclusion, trust is a critical component of high-performing teams. It's something that takes time to develop but can be achieved through open communication, collaboration, and creating team agreements. Fostering a culture of trust should be a top priority in your efforts to becoming a high-performing team.