This resource shares a process for building trust in your team by taking a slightly different approach to team-building.
To build a team that operates on high trust, you need to approach your team-building a little differently. Rather than ten-pin bowling or lazer-tag, a process of dialogue and connecting beyond behaviours is critical. We call this the process of creating a Relational Team Charter.
A relational team charter captures ‘how’ things will get done; as it is the 'how' that will help to grow trust and understanding, or erode it.
To create a relational team charter you need to work on the following points:
1. The primary objective of the team. Without this first level of shared understanding there is no true north for the team. Half a dozen team members will be heading in a half a dozen directions rather than pulling in the same direction. Not ensuring everyone is on the page as far as the raison d’etre is the first fatal flaw of many teams.
2. A shared vision of how the team needs to perform and work together achieve the primary objective. This is more than just understanding the key milestones; that’s ‘what’ the team needs to be doing. This vision is a short exercise in understanding ‘how’ we need to be working together to achieve the ‘what’. What do we look, sound and feel like when we are winning.
3. The core, non-negotiable, structures of the team that will support the achievement of the primary objective and the shared vision. If you have a geographically or globally dispersed team, this means creating simple work structures that allow for diversity and everything that comes with that, such as how the team will work with language differences and respect time zones. For every teaming situation, it is also about how you share information or how meetings will be conducted and recorded.
4. The way we work together on a daily basis. This is as simple as agreeing together on a couple of key behavioural guidelines that underpin ‘how’ we work together; areas such as communication, conflict resolution and collaboration.
All of this can be easily worked on and agreed, either in person as part of a team/project charter exercise, or as an intervention at any stage of the life of a team to add strength and resilience. More importantly, trust is built and maintained when we share an understanding of not only what we are achieving, but how and why. You only need to think of the many change management activities that fail due to poor sharing of information; we have a natural tendency to want to know what is happening and why – and if we don’t know this then we create room for gossip, innuendo and assumptions. Everything that undermines rather than underpins trust.
If you were to add any other elements to these steps for building trust in a team, what would it be...and why?