We have to admit that working as a team is not always easy. Working in a coordinated manner with a group of people towards a common goal is simple in theory, but much more complicated in practice. Many factors influence that the equipment works at the highest performance. Communication and having a clear mission are some of the fundamental elements for a team to work well, of which there is much talk. But there are others as important and necessary as those about which you hear little talk. One of them is trust.
Mutual trust between team members is fundamental and, nevertheless, a forgotten quality in organizations. This is because the business culture promotes competitiveness and invulnerability, two characteristics incompatible with trust.
What is the trust within a work team?
Trust means many things. It means feeling that we are in a safe environment. It means having the certainty that something will happen (or it will not happen). It means that we have security to take action. It means having the conviction that other people will act in good faith and as expected.
Trust has a lot to do with security. If we do not feel that we are in a safe environment, we cannot trust. In a team where there is trust, members feel safe to act and collaborate.
Why is trust important within a work team?
When there is a lack of confidence in a team, they try to hide the weaknesses and errors. Members do not ask for help among themselves, nor do they offer it. Grudges and deep political strategies are generated, acting with a hidden agenda. There is not a good work environment, where one can feel safe to show initiative and bring out the best in oneself. And of course, this is not a situation in which you can work collaboratively. When what exists is distrust, we become paranoid and do things to protect ourselves, putting the company in danger.
Without trust, you lose many opportunities to be excellent, to obtain results that could be even better.
Trust fosters collaboration and innovation. A high performance team needs these qualities. When some trust others, it is possible for everyone to work together, contributing the best of themselves and sharing opinions, advice and improvements. It generates an environment where mistakes and weaknesses are not hidden, on the contrary, they are put on the table to be addressed and counteracted.
There are several dimensions within the confidence of a team:
Confidence in skills
Team members believe in the skills and abilities they have. This helps them to use their knowledge and take advantage of their potential and that of others, seeking input from others, participating in decision making and learning new skills. This dimension allows for innovation.
Confidence in communication
It encourages collaboration and allows team members to speak directly and safely, not only to provide information, but also to answer questions and concerns, and offer comments in a spirit of deeper learning and growth.
When this happens, the teams communicate openly, transparently and honestly. Members feel safe admitting mistakes. This creates a collaborative environment that teams need to thrive.
Trust in the person
Each team member has faith that others will behave as expected. They care sincerely for each other, as people, and keep in mind the interests of others, not just their own. This is the fundamental dimension of the reliability that teams need to be effective.
Team members create this level when they do what they say they will do, generating a vision of mutual trust.