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Collaboration and Communication
Trust is important — trust us.
In everyday life, we trust complete strangers to hold up their end of the deal, such as...
✈️ Pilots — to get us safely from point A to point B.
💸 Bank personnel — to not steal our financial information.
🏠 Construction companies — to build sturdy homes for our families.
When someone in one of these areas fails to communicate or perform in a trustworthy way, things (literally) crumble. It comes as no surprise that when trust within a team plummets — projects, deadlines, and communication tend to fall apart as well.
Teams of all types are, unfortunately, yet inevitably affected by times of failure, conflict, or political happenings that may result in increased distrust between not only managers and the team, but also between the team members themselves.
On the same spectrum of good versus evil, the presence of trust within a workplace, of course, gives the opposite effect that distrust has. High levels of team trust encourages honest communication, resulting in boosted productivity, and more room for innovation. 💡
Great Place to Work has defined “high-trust culture” as a workplace environment where trust-based relationships are highly valued. In this environment, employees believe their leaders are credible, the workplace is fundamentally fair, and they are treated with respect as both people and professionals. After studying relationships between “high-trust culture” and a company's overall success for over 30 years, they’ve concluded:
There is a strong connection between a high-trust culture and business success. In fact, the connection is so strong that it can reasonably be argued that strategy-minded leaders, who care deeply about the financial wellbeing of their business, should make building a high-trust culture a top priority.”
Teams who lack trust also often experience sugar-coated feedback, minimal improvement, and a lack of psychological safety within their bi-weekly retrospectives. However, hosting regular and well facilitated retrospectives could be the first step in fixing this problem.
Trust affects retrospectives, but retrospectives also affect trust. While high levels of trust can improve the outcome of a retrospective, the same can be applied in reverse — a well facilitated retrospective resulting in tough, yet honest conversations can often bring people closer together. When teams have the best of both worlds — high levels of trust, and well facilitated, successful retrospectives, that’s where the true magic happens.
If you’re finding that your retrospectives aren’t resulting in the heaping amount of honest feedback and improvement you were hoping for, it may be time to assess and improve the level of trust among the team. Take a dive into exploring how the following tips can improve the level of trust among your team members.
Since no two workplaces are exactly the same, the way in which a leader builds trust varies from team to team. There are, however, a few tactics that will help ensure a comfortable, trust-building environment, no matter the workplace style.
The Center for Management & Organization Effectiveness knows a thing or two about how to build trust in the workplace, including:
Teams, both in-person and distributed, are likely to benefit from leaders who take into account the above trust-building tips. In order to ensure trust among the entire team, you might want to go a step further.
It’s clear that trust is key to a successful retrospective, and more importantly: a successful workplace. Trust holds the power to affect everything from morale to communication and every interaction in between. It is up to all of us as leaders to create an environment for trust and unity to grow and thrive, providing employees with a sense of purpose and psychological safety.
While taking into consideration that building trust doesn’t happen overnight and there are no shortcuts, the outcome of investing time in this area is monumental — a high-performing team in a strong workplace with a solid culture. Worth it.
Next Up: Discover How Groupthink Is Plaguing Team Retrospectives And How You Can Prevent It