Teamwork and trust within a company are crucial, and yet a rare commodity within most organizations. Whether you work for a large company or a small firm, whether your team consists of one other person or several dozen, it is extremely important to understand what trust is… AND to be able to trust one another.
In his book, ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team,’ Patrick Lencioni says, ‘Trust lies at the heart of a functioning, cohesive team. Without it, teamwork is all but impossible.’ Building that trust is not always easy. All too often, we get in the way of ourselves. Our egos, our vanity, even our own personal agendas can get in the way of being able to open ourselves up to others. The challenge is to let down our walls and become just a little more vulnerable: to let people in.
Getting to know others on a more personal level is a key to beginning to build trust. ‘The Five Dysfunctions of a Team’ goes on to discuss different ways to begin building trust. The first is to become a little vulnerable – to be less guarded and to open up about yourself and who you are. If I want to be an effective leader, building trust by opening up about who I am must begin with me:
I shared a couple of weeks ago about how I made the decision to leave the financial service industry after 25 years and start The Shoe Shine Guys. I mentioned that it wasn’t my decision at all, but my faith in God and the power of prayer that has led me down this road. If I’m going to open up and let people know a little more about who I am, I can tell you that I was born almost 54 years ago in Saginaw, Michigan. I’m one of nine children – five girls and four boys in the span of 10 years – and I was right in the middle, number five. After college, I went to Texas for what was supposed to be two weeks in 1980… and stayed for six years. I started dating a Texas girl in January of 1982, got engaged in March and married her in October that same year. We have now been married for over 30 years and have two wonderful children – a son about to be married, and our first grandchild on the way to our daughter and her husband. I am an avid handball player, and a few years back, was the Canadian National Champion.
That tells you a little bit about me… and I would love to hear more about you. I truly believe that the more people share with each other, the more they open up, the more trusting we become. In arguably one of the greatest business and personal growth books ever written, ‘How to Win Friends and Influence People,’ Dale Carnegie lays out his first principle of how to ‘make people like you’: become genuinely interested in other people.
Take the time to get to know a team member on a more personal level, and you’ll start building the trust that is so important to the success and growth of your organization. One of my goals this year is to continue to build an outstanding team within The Shoe Shine Guys, focused on our BHAG (big hairy audacious goal) of exceptional customer service. We’ll strive to continue to build trust not only within our team, but with our clients. These are the people who rely on us every day to get the job done, and done right.
Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.