Building a trusting relationship with your team takes time, and do not expect as a first-time manager that it will happen overnight. Trust is an integral part of building high-performing teams. If your teams do not trust you, they will not get to the participative or autonomous levels.
You build trust every day by demonstrating effective leadership skills. That is your most powerful strategy. You build trust by showing that you care and are concerned about your team. If you do not really care, your team will surely know it. You build trust by allowing your team members to make mistakes and learn from their mistakes instead of punishing them for their mistakes. If they get punished for making a mistake, they will never want to try something new or something that they are not already skilled in. You build trust by sharing your views, opinions, and even your
own shortcomings. Your teams will bond with you more when they know more about you. And you build trust by giving your teams the freedom to act on their own as much as possible. This last one is the biggest sign of trust.
Sometimes, because of our own actions as managers and team leaders or because of the actions of the organization, our teams lose the trust they once had. For example, consider what happens
if a team member says he would like to learn something new soon or take on a different role on the team. If you promise to accommodate this person but never do, he will lose the trust he once had in you. If your organization has been regularly communicating with the staff but without explanation it suddenly stops doing so, the organization loses the trust of its staff. When your team members lose trust because of what you or the organization has done, or both, there are five things you need to do:
1. Find out in specific terms why the team has lost trust. Was it something you or the organization did? What was the impact?
2. Have a plan for how you are going to regain trust even if it was not you who caused the mistrust. Acknowledge how the organization’s action caused the loss of trust.
3. Demonstrate that you are making every effort to regain the team’s trust.
4. Tell your management or organization how their actions caused a loss of trust and the impact their actions had onyour team.
5. React quickly to losses of trust. Time works against you.
A supportive, knowledgeable team leader or manager needs to focus on two major areas when she is building her teams. She needs to focus on all five keys to developing team spirit. And she needs to focus on her own team-leadership development. One of the two is not enough. Both are essential.
Source : Topchik, Gary S. 2007. “The first-time manager’s guide to team building”. New York : Silver Enterprise
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