A huge part of everything we do as leaders is built on trust, most importantly on our executive teams. It is not enough for the members of your team to have trust in you, you all must have trust in each other for exceptional results.
Many of you know I am a huge fan of Patrick Lencioni, the International Best-Selling author of a ton of leadership books. I use the definition of trust from the Five Behaviors of a Cohesive Team model, getting amazing results for the teams I work with. I want you to get the same type of results on your executive teams.
The Five Behaviors model talks about vulnerability-based trust…the kind that allows you to be truly transparent, honest about your strengths and weaknesses, open about your hopes and dreams, and forthcoming about your challenges and triumphs. When you can have this kind of vulnerability-based trust with your fellow executive teammates without worrying one bit about any consequence, negative repercussion, retribution, ridicule or gossip, then you are on the road to building a strong, solid foundation for your team.
Trust is the foundation of any successful relationship…and your team is simply made up of numerous relationships.
So, how do you build and enhance trust among the executives on your team? You purposefully get to know each other better. Start to understand how they developed into their present position, which will give you greater insight into why they do the things they do, the way they do them.
Here are three suggestions to jump start these conversations:
- Dive deeply into meaningful conversation. Ask powerful questions. Ask about the best team they ever led, the biggest challenges they ever faced, their biggest successes, and their greatest failures.
- Share the results of any leadership assessments you may have taken. Share your results from Everything DiSC©, Kolbe, Clifton Strengths finders or 360-degree feedback tool with each other. Discuss how your results complement each other and how they might be a cause of tension between the two of you when working together on a project.
- Finally, work on your active listening skills. A recent study indicated 45% of the people they interviewed said a lack of trust in leadership is the biggest issue impacting their work performance. Could this same lack of trust be present on your Leadership Team? Active listening builds trust. Everyone has a deep need to be heard, which leads to increased employee engagement. This will positively impact performance and ultimately can translate into improved business results, increased profitability and increased client satisfaction…all fantastic ROI indicators.
The serial entrepreneur Dave Kerpen said, “it doesn’t matter how smart, talented, driven, or passionate you are, your success depends on your ability to build and inspire a team.” It is not enough to have increased levels of trust only between you and each of your team members. Research indicates intra-team trust is just as important for reaching organizational success.
In closing, I would like to leave you with this quote: “None of us is as smart as all of us”. -Ken Blanchard
Now go be the best leader of a team you can be!
Need some more info on Trust in Organizations? Go to HBR for the Sept 2002 article on The High Cost of Lost Trust.