Your last two Leadership Bulletins examined how to tune teams for high performance. The questions they asked were:
- “When there’s conflict, where’s your finger pointing?”
- “Are your team members always wearing their team hat under the hat of their particular function or department?”
This Bulletin will continue to help ensure you’re doing whatever you can to have your team perform at a maximally effective level.
The amount of trust in your team will have a huge impact on that!
What Diminishes Trust in Teams?
It’s natural to be on-guard with someone you don’t know well. Your familiarity with them impacts how well you understand them – and therefore how much you trust them.
Of the many things that conspire to diminish trust in a team, the lack of familiarity that team members have with each other is almost always at the bottom of the mistrust!
It’s rare that a team member deliberately sets out to be a “pain in the butt”.
They’re just being themselves, doing things their way.
It’s easy to see from your leadership position, from your helicopter view, that not every team member is like every other team member.
It’s clear to you that they have different “hard-wiring”. But your team members are “in it”. Therefore it’s unlikely that they have this clear view. They just feel the tension – and the mistrust!
The Thought That Leads to Interpersonal Tension
Interpersonal tension and distrust in your team is almost always caused by this (sometimes unconscious) belief: They need to be like me.
When a team member doesn’t have exemplary EQ, misunderstandings and miscommunications that make the other person wrong are going to occur, often.
How Very-high-performing-teams Distinguish Their Team From “Also-ran” Teams
In my Team Coaching work, it’s clear that very-high-performing-teams distinguish themselves from also-ran teams only once each team member has a real understanding of themselves and their peers’ individual differences. To create the leverage of very-high-performing-teams, their team members:
- Are clearly self-aware – they know their own strengths, weaknesses, values and behavioural preferences.
- Also know their team members’ strengths, weaknesses, values and behavioural preferences.
- Rather than complain about interpersonal differences, they accept diversity as a virtue and skilfully nurture and utilise the valuable range of strengths and capabilities in their team members.
Your Leadership Call to Action
Increasing your team members’ knowledge of interpersonal differences replaces interpersonal tension with understanding and tolerance and consequently trust.
How well do your team members understand themselves? How well do they understand the way their peers are wired?
Do they understand why they habitually do, say, big picture thinking rather than doing detailed work or, say, think things through on their own rather than talking things through with others?
If they haven’t investigated their interpersonal differences as an intact team, it will be costing you some leverage. Your team will be experiencing some tension because of misunderstandings. And therefore you’re probably noticing that trust isn’t as high as it needs to be!
Is your team too “in it” to get out of it without somebody from the outside shining an understanding light on them?
Just phone or email me if you want to know how “shining an understanding light” could help your team perform at a maximally effective level.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR:
Carolyn Stevens has worked with leaders for more than 25-years—hundreds of them.
She’s supported leader after leader (including those who previously struggled to confront the difficult, let alone persuasively deal with the it) flourish—and become confident, courageous and impressively influential.
Carolyn is authentic and results-oriented. She draws on an eclectic array of approaches, tools and techniques to suit the situation.