There are certain core values that are necessary for any group to function. Trust is an important one. Without trust, cooperation and collaboration are impossible. But trust exists along a continuum. There are degrees of trust. The bonds of trust among people can be strong or weak. You may be willing to trust a person for certain tasks, but not for others. Moreover, trust can change over time as external factors put stress on it.
It is important to strengthen the bonds of trust as much as possible, because the stronger they are, the better the group will perform. It should be a priority for any leader. If leaders don’t pursue it, it could be that they just don’t understand its importance. Its influence is far-reaching.
Why Does Trust Matter?
The Effects of Trust
When people trust each other, they work more efficiently together. They form a common purpose, are more willing to take risks, think more creatively, give each other more support, and communicate better.
When there is a lack of trust, however, people are more concerned about their place in the hierarchy, they are unwilling to take risks, they keep information to themselves, and they gossip about others more.
When team members trust each other, they put forth their best effort. They know they can focus exclusively on their job and doing it well, rather than casting a wary eye over their shoulder to see what others are doing. They are more involved and engaged with their work. And the team functions better as a whole because the individuals in it work together and want to contribute.
Conversely, when trust is more tenuous, a lot of effort is wasted in dealing with interpersonal relationships and problems that arise with them. Workers are less engaged and lack the focus of a trust-filled group. When workers lack confidence in their colleagues, they begin to question why they are there and what their purpose is.
There are three things needed to build trust, according to organizational experts.
1. Team members need to understand what trust is and recognize why it is so important.
2. Team members need to know the kinds of actions that help to build trust.
3. Team members need to monitor their trust-building efforts.
Some of the things people can do to build trust are recognizing colleagues’ skills and abilities, involving others in their work and asking for their input, honoring agreements, sharing information, being truthful, acknowledging mistakes, giving and receiving useful feedback, and maintaining confidentiality if asked to.