If you had told a younger me that trust was the key element to all relationships and underpinned all great teams, I would have looked back at you, nodded wisely and said 'of course'.
What I didn't realise back then was just how true this is. The difficult thing with these infinite truths is that they become platitudes, you accept them but you don't necessarily feel the tug of them internally. That is, until you experience them and they become hard fact.
Trust is our foundation at Applied and below outlines why it means so much to me and to our team.
At Applied all team leads are given one of my favourite books "The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team". It has inspired our approach to trust and helps us continue to lay our foundation
Trust at Applied starts as a genuine caring for others where you truly have their best interests at heart. This builds belief in others which, when reciprocated, creates a foundational bond upon which you can layer vulnerability, self-awareness, development, creativity, inclusivity and much more.
The esteemed Stephen R. Covey put it well:
“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”
Building trust allows us to do the following:
- Know that your manager, peers and team truly have your back and see your success as the team's success.
- Trust others to do their best work and deliver their part for the team.
- Receive support and coaching during tough times, knowing that problems can be shared and solved together.
- Trust in people's expertise and that they are making the right calls for the good of the team.
The above items are just the start. Once the foundation of trust is in place, you can build great things on top of it. Patrick Lencioni, author of 'The Five Dysfunctions of a Team', gives examples of these below:
“Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they're doing it because they care about the team.”
“Remember teamwork begins by building trust. And the only way to do that is to overcome our need for invulnerability.”
“When there is trust, conflict becomes nothing but the pursuit of truth, an attempt to find the best possible answer.”
A foundation of trust, allows us to:
- Enable vulnerability so that feedback can be candid and truly absorbed.
- Create positive conflict and discussion so that problems can be uprooted quickly.
- Enable the free-flow of ideas in a safe environment to spark creativity.
- Build an inclusive environment where people can be their true selves.
Getting to the above creates highly effective and happy teams, but getting there requires constant work and attention. Building and maintaining trust is not easy and it starts with a self-sacrifice that the best managers do naturally, and I strive to do better daily.
Lencioni again puts it best:
“The only way for the leader of a team to create a safe environment for their team members to be vulnerable is by stepping up and doing something that feels unsafe and uncomfortable first. By getting naked before anyone else, by taking the risk of making himself vulnerable with no guarantee that other members of the team will respond in kind, a leader demonstrates an extraordinary level of selflessness and dedication to the team. And that gives him the right, and the confidence, to ask others to do the same.”
So, this is our journey, to build and maintain a great foundation of trust upon which we can do the best work of our lives and change hiring for the better. It only comes with hard work and sacrifice, but the rewards are great.