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Barriers to Resilience in Teams - Lack of Trust



if your team is going to be as resilient as is possible then one of the key factors to ensuring this is to ensure that levels of trust are high in three key aspects.


  1. Trust between team members.

  2. Trust between team members and the team manager or leader.

  3. Trust between the team and senior influential stakeholders.

Here's some ways you can build trust in each of these essential areas:


Trust between team members.


a. Make sure the team have full clarity on the team's purpose and its specific aims and goals. Also, every single member should have similar clarity on their own role, responsibilities and objectives. Make sure these are shared so that every member of the team is fully aware of what each person is tasked to do and what they specifically have to achieve.

b. In addition, raise awareness across the team of the different personality styles and preferences along with each individual's strengths profile. This helps to reduce judgements based on on observed body language and also ensures that the right people are allocated to the appropriate projects.

c. Consider regular review of team progress against the team's goals and where each individual including the team manager, reports back on how their individual objectives are progressing. Make sure these reviews are supportive and 'constructively challenging' so that everyone is encouraging each other to succeed. If the team feels that these meetings are to 'justify their existence' then you will get minimum input with little problem solving and sharing of success. Getting the culture right for these reviews builds trust. Get it wrong and trust disappears and along with it resilience.


Trust between Team and Team Manager.


a. All managers should go through the above steps and in addition it is also very useful for the team to go through a 'needs' and 'expectations' exercise. This involves all team members including the manager highlighting what their specific personal needs are in terms of working in the team. What behaviours and attitudes does each individual need to see displayed consistently in the team? Record these in your team charter. You will see a lot of overlap but getting individuals to personally outline these empowers them and builds trust. It is also important that expectations are managed . Managers have expectations of the team in terms of both processes and behaviours. e.g. I expected a high standard of weekly reporting alongside accuracy of expense returns. I also expected team members to be open and honest as to where perhaps they were struggling. If I was aware then I could support them. It is also important that the team get the opportunity to outline their expectations of the manager and some example of this that were communicated to be were that the team expected me to be as open as I could be about communications and plans from head office; not to work on my holidays; respect when team members were on holiday; rotate the organisation and leadership of team meetings etc.

b. You can build further trust by being seen to champion the team and its successes. Put team members forward for awards where deserved; ensure good quality of reports to head office; celebrate the team's successes both within the team and beyond; and champion the team charter and team development plan.


Trust between the Team and Senior Influential Stakeholders.


a. First build a stakeholder map and identify the key senior stakeholders that are influential and either rely on the team to deliver and / or have a high interest in how the team performs. Discuss how the team can engage these stakeholders proactively and ensure a plan to get these stakeholders positively engaged so that they become aware of the team's 'brand' and their goals, and are inclined to support the team.

b. A lot will depend on who is best placed to engage with these stakeholders and in many instances it is down to the team manager, as they will be involved in management meetings where senior stakeholders will be present. The manager must be supported in this respect and as such if they need quality data and information to promote then team then the team must supply this. However it is not just down to the manager. There will be instances and opportunities for team members to engage with senior stakeholders such as on conferences, customer meetings and visits to head office, if field based. Everyone has a opportunity to engage and influence, by engaging positively with senior stakeholders. Make sure every opportunity is taken.


When you get these three levels of trust right then watch the team's levels of resilience rise and with it its level of overall performance. A team contract, team development plan and stakeholder plan will give you the framework to achieve this. And make sure these are reviewed to ensure resilience and performance is kept high.


If you would like to know more about our 'Resilient Partners' team development programme then simply direct message me through LinkedIn or via email at allan@resilientpartners.co.uk . Alternatively call me on ++ 44 (0) 776 416 8989

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