Building a team of any capacity requires for people to trust. There are several levels of trust that must be developed in order for the team to reach optimal success. Here are some areas of focus on building that leaders can evaluate:
1. In order to be successful, there must be a level of trust in the leader. People who do not believe in their leader will not execute effectively and will not invest all they have. These are identifiable by teams who have coaches screaming to the top of their lungs and players have no emotional response. When you see players not respond (be it good or bad) there is a lack of trust in the leader's direction. This could be because the leader at some point contradicted themselves, could be because the player feels some level of favoritism, or it could be their own personal resistance to the leader from a personal experience they have not let go. Either way, these indicators are a sign that the leader has got to take time to develop a relationship and a level of trust with the player. Take them to lunch, ask them to help you with an app on your phone or take a moment to just visit with them in some down time to reach them and ask them to help you understand their hesitation. This is the beginning of developing trust in a leader.
2. Another key area to be aware of is the level of trust in each other. These are the most common areas of vulnerability because you have different people coming from different backgrounds, beliefs, systems, lifestyles etc. trying to figure out their role within a team. This can especially be difficult because last year their role may have been different from what it currently is. So transitioning to a new role can cause jealousy, friction, confusion and a lack of trust among team members. This can be alleviated through diversity training, role definition and meetings that empower each person to own their place within the team understanding that one person is not more important than another and that each person is valuable. Once this is understood, you can give them tools, training and encouragement to own their role and add value to the team. This happens not just with time but with strategic personal development to the people that make up the team not only from the leaders or coaches but should also be a daily goal for each team member. A great measuring tool to ask daily and ensure trust is being developed is for everyone to ask "How can I add value to my team?" Instead of what can my team do for me. This will cause the focus to shift towards the Team.
3. The last area that I want to bring to light is trust in the process. What is your process as a manager, leader or coach? Have you clearly defined the process from beginning to end? Is your process comprehensive to others? Have you taken time to break the process down into seasons or like in the business world - 4 quarters of the fiscal year. Have you studied the trends of the different seasons that your program goes through and are you able to identify the highs and lows so that you can successfully lead your team through your process? Have you developed steps to regain momentum when you do experience a low or is your response to blame somebody? I can say this from experience playing on several teams, coaching several teams and also running businesses managing million dollar budgets --- if your response to failure is blaming someone else and that's it, you won't have a lot of trust in your process. People want to know that they can be safe to make mistakes in your organization and not be ostracized because of it. Now can you effectively correct and criticize people who make mistakes....absolutely! Do not get it confused, you can and should always correct mistakes made, but the process that you develop as a leader must give room for mistakes and have prepared steps to recover. For example, practicing what to do if your basketball team turns the ball over. Have built in drills in practice that allow players to condition and prepare for mistakes so that their response is moving on to the next play and stopping the ball so the other team doesn't go on a run from one mistake. It should be apart of your process as a coach. When you have a realistic process that gives room not just for when we have momentum, but includes when we have lost it, players will commit to the process more because they can give it all they have and know what to do when they make a mistake.
Consider trust to be one of those intangibles that can not be as easily calculated as points on a scoreboard but can be just as critical to the success of any team. Take a moment to evaluate your team's trust in you, each other and in the process.
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Kevin & Brenita Jackson