Start small to build trust in your team

New Thinking 30 June 2016 Ceedee Doyle

We all came to work today to do a good job. Hands up if you didn’t! No one? Exactly. But sometimes we just feel like someone is letting the side down, not completing the things they said they would do, their tasks take twice as long as everyone else’s and it’s frustrating because you know you could do it in half the time.

Put yourself in their shoes – they probably know it. There is nowhere to hide on an Agile team. They’ve heard the comments, they feel terrible, but they still don’t ask for help or improve at what they’re doing.

So why don’t they change the way they’re behaving even when they know it would benefit them and their team? Two words – TRUST and FEAR. 

If we don’t feel safe, we won’t trust our team – deep down – to help us. Therefore, our fears about not being good enough (yes, we all have that one!) cause us to work against what would actually help us. We close off, don’t share and struggle away on our own. This fabulous article on HBR talks about ‘The real reason people won’t change’.

The survival of the human race depends on surrounding ourselves with people who value and believe what we believe. This is why when you’re on the tube in another country and you hear someone speaking your language, you turn and say “Hey, where are you from?”. They have a background and values which you can expect to be similar to yours (see more from Simon Sinek).

What are your team’s values? What’s in your team charter/working agreement? Are you living those values or actually departing from that? You, yes you, are responsible for displaying and holding each other to those values. 

Trust is about conversations and interactions. Build trust with your teammates by spending time with them. Helping someone else actually inspires others to help you. We all benefit. Are you talking with them, going for coffee, catching up? Go for a team walk-around-the-block, do the five-minute quiz or a team huddle. You will begin to share values when you trust that others really hold them too. Every small interaction builds trust between you and your team.

How can you do something small today to foster trust? Can you help someone in your team or your tribe? Sometimes, small interactions can go a long way.