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How to build trust between members?

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Trust between members is one of the most essential elements of an effective team. When team members trust each other, they are more productive since they are less likely to be worried if they are going to be stabbed in the back and this give them the luxury to focus on the tasks at hand better. They embrace the constructive conflict and healthy disagreement that lead to better decisions and more creative ideas. I would like to express my personal preference for healthy disagreement in a team, I believe that healthy disagreement will lead to a more creative and robust approach in problem solving because everyone need to justify their own proposed solution to be foolproof .

In managing your team, you should explicitly communicate the importance of trust for your team’s success. To build trust between team members, create opportunities for them to get to know one another on a personal level. Small disclosures can go a long way in helping people understand each other’s actions. 

Among the way to build personal bonds:

  • Host an off-site team meeting or family day. Convene your entire team, including remote members. Time spent together outside the office creates opportunities for team members to get to know one another on a personal level. These events help team members debunk stereotypes for example, “the technology folks are hard to work with” and find common ground for collaborative work. This is the almost perfect event in which the team get to know each other on personal level.
  • Hold team lunches or a lunch get-together. Encourage casual conversation for a half-hour. Prompt team members to reveal a little bit about themselves which could includes topics such as their upbringing, families, hobbies, travels. Whenever possible, have your virtual members attend by phone. But always make sure that the conversation are casual, and not forced, people need to open up willingly.
  • Add a personal touch to meetings. At the beginning of a meeting, ask each member, those in the room and those joining virtually to give a brief personal or professional update. Building relationships before the meeting begins improves communication going forward.
  • Encourage periodic face-to-face meetings and not just during your periodic performance review. As time, geography, and budget allow, bring virtual team members physically together at important junctures, such as when key decisions must be made or when new members join the team. Use videoconferencing if physical meetings are not possible. This will reinforce the group bonding necessary for trust.
  • Build team cohesiveness. Have team members take a personality test, such as Myers-Briggs, and share the results with the group. Being aware of each other’s personality styles helps people feel more comfortable airing conflicts and collaborating. I did this with my team and finally all of us could finally understand our differences in attitude, preferences, way of talking and decision making process. This significantly increase our level of personal understanding of each of the team member personality and reduces friction in the team. 

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What is trust?

What is trust? Trust is defined as the belief that a person intends to do the right thing (character) and knows what to do and how to get it done (competence).

Character + Competence = Trust

When your team members trust you, they believe that you:

  • Intend to do what is best for them and the organization
  • Have the skills needed to achieve mutually important goals
  • Deliver on your commitments
  • Genuinely care about others’ well-being

Character

Character is about your intention to do the right thing even when the going get tough. Your team members will trust you if they respect your character.

Others will view your character positively if they believe that you:

  • Appreciation: Value your team’s and organization’s work. You appreciate the inherent worth of the work you do, not just its personal usefulness to you, such as your own professional advancement. To demonstrate this, link your team’s work to the organization’s strategy, be a model of commitment to your team, and put the team first by distributing credit generously rather than hoarding credits.
  • Caring: Value individual team members. You genuinely care about them and take their needs and interests into account. You treat team members with respect. You’re forthright and honest and do your best to keep your word. To demonstrate that you care, help team members succeed and accomplish goals, treat everyone fairly, and show appreciation for each team member.
  • EI: Are emotionally intelligent. You deal effectively with your own and others’ feelings at work. To demonstrate emotional intelligence, acknowledge your own emotions, invite constructive criticism and feedback on your own work, and handle team members’ mistakes constructively.
  • Resilient: Never give up. You recover from setbacks, frustrations, and failure. Having a healthy sense of self-confidence will help you avoid discouragement and stay focused on your team’s work and ultimate purpose. To demonstrate resiliency, express confidence, take control of team setbacks, and swiftly identify actions that will improve a challenging situation.

Competence

Competence is your knowledge of what to do and how to get it done. In order to establish your competency, you must be able to demonstrate three type of competence.

The 3-type of competence is generally defined as :

  • Technical competence means you know enough about the work your group does to guide others and make intelligent decisions. Technical competence can be viewed as “theoretical” knowledge which are what you learn in a classroom or a textbook. It’s how things are supposed to work.
  • Operational competence is practical, “how to do it,” real-world hands-on knowledge. When you have operational competence, you know how the theory behind your team’s work actually gets applied. You acquire this kind of competence through on-the-job experience.
  • Political competence means understanding how to get something done in your organization by being politically savvy. It requires knowing company practices and processes, recognizing who has real influence, and being clear about other units’ goals and how to navigate your team and yourself to accomplish the goals at hand.

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Tips for winning trust

Your intentions can make a difference in how well you build trust with others. People won’t believe you will do the right thing unless they’re convinced you genuinely want to do it.

Therefore in order to communicate your good intentions:

  • Talk explicitly about your intentions. Discuss what’s important to you, what your goals are, and what values and motives guide your actions and decisions. Relying on others to guess what’s in your head and heart won’t help you build the trust you need to be seen as credible.
  • Demonstrate your integrity. Fulfill any promises you make. And be sure that your actions match your words. For instance, if you often say that you think people should help each other whenever possible, then make sure you actively support others in need.
  • Be consistent. Avoid acting in ways that conflict with your character and personality—the individual that others have come to see you as. If you behave inconsistently, others may be confused and start wondering whether you have the right intentions.

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How to earn others’ trust?

When people trust you, they’re more inclined to accept your ideas. That’s because they see you as believable, well informed, and sincere. They believe you have their best interests at heart. They perceive that you’re open to ideas, but not gullible and you’re someone who weighs things objectively and thoughtfully, not impulsively. Finally, they believe that you’re honest and reliable.

Therefore, in order to earn others’ trust:

  • Be sincere. Demonstrate your genuine belief that your ideas are worth others’ time and attention. And make sure that your sincerity is not fake, you need to actually really care for others.
  • Build a track record of trustworthiness. Follow through on promises and commitments you’ve made. When people see that you’ve delivered on promises in the past, you earn a reputation for trustworthiness.”
  • Respect others. Share or give credit to those who contribute good ideas. Respect is earn not demanded, yes, but it is also reciprocating aspect of our life which mean, you earn respect by giving others a fair amount of your respect first. Therefore, always show some respect to everyone.
  • Encourage exploration of ideas. Value others’ ideas. Listen to people’s concerns, encourage dialogue, and demonstrate your openness to their perspectives. Here, I would recommend the 2-minutes rule, that is give everyone whom want to share their opinions or ideas for a minimum of 2-minutes without interruption.
  • Put others’ best interests first. When people believe you have their interests at heart, they tend to trust you and your ideas more.
  • Acknowledge your flaws. When you own up to your shortcomings, people see you as truthful and therefore trustworthy. That’s because many people assume that most individuals want to conceal their faults.

These practices presume that you have a relationship with those you want to persuade for example, as a colleague, boss, partner, or customer. Such relationships provide opportunities to develop trust over time.

But in some cases, you’ll be seeking to persuade strangers, or people to whom you’ll have only one exposure. In these situations, you’ll need to show that you have a record of being trustworthy.

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Rebuilding lost trust

As a leader or a normal human being, you’ll likely need to rebuild damaged trust at some point in your career or life. Here is some of the steps which can help you in doing so.

In order to address your own breach of trust or someone else’s:

  • Step 1: Figure out what happened. What led to the loss of trust? Remember, trust is based on character and competence, so consider both aspects as you trace the source of the problem. This must be done with thorough honesty with open-minded mindset.
  • Step 2: Assess the damage. Talk to people: How long has the problem been going on? What groups have been affected? When you know the scope of the problem, you can gauge your response effectively.
  • Step 3: Admit to the problem. Take responsibility publicly, even if you were not directly involved. Share examples of what restored trust would look like for your group. Let people know when they will hear from you next, and honor the timeframe.
  • Step 4: Identify remedial actions. List the changes you’ll make in organizational systems, people, and culture—then follow through and make the changes.
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What decreases trust

As per our discussion before, it takes time to build trust, but can be destroyed in an instant. Even with the best of intentions, leaders can make mistakes that damage trust and now we are going to discuss some of them.

Here are some of the common blunders that undermine trust –

  • Inconsistent messages. When you contradict yourself, give one group different information than another, or undermine your words with your actions, you show a lack of consistency. One of the example I can think of is the appointment and sacking of David Moyes at Manchester United, because the senior players attribute his lack of success at the Red Devils are due to his confusing tactics and inconsistent messages.
  • Lack of transparency. When people sense they aren’t being given all the facts, they are likely to imagine the worst. While you may have accidentally forgotten to include some information, your coworkers may suspect that you are deliberately withholding something. Ray Dalio put a lot of emphasis on this in his book ‘The Principle’ through his preference for radial transparency.
  • Variable standards. When you treat some members of your team differently from others, people lose trust in your fairness and credibility. Or in other words, it can be term as ‘favoritism’ .
  • Misplaced benevolence. Leaders can be derailed by being too tolerant of poor work or negative attitudes. When you let troubling behavior persist, everyone feels the effects and will likely blame you. Remember to take action where necessary.
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Leadership trust ingredient

Trust = Competence + character

Leaders occupy visible places in organizations and all their conduct and decision making shall be judged by both their subordinate as well as their superior. Hence, you can expect that coworkers at all levels will scrutinize your actions as they decide whether to trust you.

When deciding whether to trust you, colleagues usually judge on –

  • Your competence or lack of it. Do you understand your job’s requirements? Do you understand how the unit works? Do you have the clout to get resources, cooperation, and approvals from the rest of the organization? Usually the requirement for one to fill a leadership position is their experience in that area and their competency. Hence, if you lack in either one, trust might be hard to gain.
  • Your character. Are you fair and honest? Do strong moral values guide your decision making? Do your actions match your words? What does your body languages says? It usually comes down to whether you walk the talk or not. It easier for the ‘boss’ to instruct their subordinate to do something good while not doing so themselves. Therefore, it is better to lead by example.

Leadership competence

Sometimes people think competence means simply knowing how to do the job. As a leader, it’s important to know enough about your group’s work to guide others and make intelligent decisions. However, you don’t have to be the ultimate authority on the technical aspects of your work. Savvy leaders hire people who have more technical expertise than they do for their teams.

A competent leader understands:

  • How the group functions. What role does each person play? What does the group need in terms of resources and direction? How are technical skills put into action? A leader gains this insight primarily through on-the-job experience.
  • How to wield influence within the larger organization. What organizational politics are needed to navigate to get your work done? What pressures and opportunities does the group face? What are other units’ goals and competing interests?

Leaders earn their reputation for competence over time because it would required back-up by consistent and proven track record. They do it by building a record of accomplishments problems solved, resources attained, and employees developed and promoted.

What is character?

Competence is knowing what to do and how to do. Character is showing that you intend to do the right thing, an equally vital part of leadership because the right thing is not always the easiest path. People want to anticipate what you will do. The only way they can predict your behavior is by knowing your belief, values and motives. 

Leaders who have trustworthy character demonstrate integrity. They have an internal  or moral compass: Even under pressure, they follow a consistent set of values about what’s wrong and what’s right and make decision based on those.

Trusted leaders:

  • Recognize the ethics involved in business situations – and at times can be supplemented based on cultural norms since ‘moral’ at times might differ from different places, time and culture wise
  • Make moral judgments
  • Match their actions to those judgments
  • Influence others to act ethically

Build your character

If you hold yourself to high moral standards, you’ll reap powerful benefits both in your career and in your personal life. Just as per advise that I usually heard from Dave Ramsey, you need to have a good work ethics.

Come to the office 5 minutes earlier and leave 5 minutes later than you supposed to. And actually work while you at work. People (your employer) will take notice because nobody else actually do this.

It is a relatively simple ethics, but things like this in the long run will build your reputation which in turn build your character and nurture trust.

To both earn and keep others’ trust:

  • Be a role model. Work hard, protect company values, and make the same sacrifices you ask of others.
  • Respect the work. Be prepared, care about quality, put forth your best effort, and commend others when they do the same.
  • Value individuals. Listen to others, protect people’s dignity, show appreciation, and consider your team’s interests when making difficult decisions.
  • Be emotionally steady. Manage your own emotions and be positive, resilient, and aware of your impact on others.

Well, that’s that for now. There’s a lot of things that can be immediately implemented but there’s also some things that would be built over time. Trust is one of that. It will take time.

 

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Trust – A quick guide on how to built it

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At work, managers build trust by demonstrating they have:

  • Character: The ability to make moral decisions, play fair, and do the right thing even when it’s tough
  • Competence: The ability to effectively do the job, understand others’ roles, make decisions, and navigate challenges

To be an effective coach, your employees need to trust you. Make sure you demonstrate character and competence.

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Always Check & Verify The Information That You Received

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يَا أَيُّهَا الَّذِينَ آمَنُوا إِنْ جَاءَكُمْ فَاسِقٌ بِنَبَإٍ فَتَبَيَّنُوا أَنْ تُصِيبُوا قَوْمًا بِجَهَالَةٍ فَتُصْبِحُوا عَلَى مَا فَعَلْتُمْ نَادِمِينَ – الحجرات: 6 

O you who have believed, if there comes to you a disobedient one with information, investigate, lest you harm a people out of ignorance and become, over what you have done, regretful. (Quran 49:6)