All high performing and high functioning leadership teams have one major thing in common: trust runs deep. It’s not a surface-level trust, but a deep trust that proves to be the single greatest factor in a team reaching its goals.
Although say-do ratios impact trust, the kind of trust I'm referring to is more than just believing in someone or believing they will do what they say they will do. When it comes to teams, trust is all about vulnerability. This means that team members are willing to be exposed to one another around their failures, weaknesses, mistakes and even fears. The good news is that people who aren’t afraid to admit the real truth about themselves aren’t going to engage in the kinds of behaviors that lead to politics, silos and team division that waste everyone’s time, energy and resources.
Vulnerability-based trust welcomes in grace, healthy conflict, commitment, accountability and getting results. It shows up practically in apologies, owning failures, taking full responsibility for mistakes and admitting when help is needed. Even just one person on a leadership team who is unwilling to be emotionally vulnerable to his/her team members will hijack the team’s ability to be truly cohesive and healthy.
Opportunities to build more trust on leadership teams are plentiful. When the primary leader “goes first” - admitting a missed opportunity, being transparent with emotions and creating the safe space for others to be real – other leaders around the table will follow.
Teams can only reach this deep level of trust when each leader agrees to check their ego at the door, stop playing the game of perfection, and suit up for the team name on the front of their jersey more than they’re playing for their individual name on the back.
Having the anchor of trust in place on your leadership team isn’t just a nice idea; it’s a strategic and intentional decision. Getting there takes courage and a willingness to be disciplined with behaviors around how team members treat one another.
While it’s not always easy, it is profoundly simple. We’d love to help you get there.