Team Success Depends on This One Thing

The Super Bowl is a very important time for many leaders.

There are fantasy picks for the winning team with substantial money on the line. Families and friends gather for big Super Bowl parties filled with a crazy amount of highly caloric food as well as massive discussions about strategically placed commercials. Yet when all is said and done the day is all about the team that earns the coveted Super Bowl trophy. Teams are an important part of our professional ecosystems. If they work well, they perform well. If they are highly dysfunctional, which I have worked with for many years, they can derail an organization quickly. Creating teams that not only turn out the highest level of deliverables but also maintain strong connections with customers can be a challenge. Let’s face it, whenever people are involved it is never just about the tasks and responsibilities. It is always about the relationships.How do teams cultivate impeccable performance as well as highly connected team players? The winning Super Bowl team will demonstrate this one thing too. The secret ingredient for team success is trust.

Four strategies for teams to build trust:

1. Learn About Each Other Off The Field

Although we each spend a tremendous amount of time in our work worlds, that doesn’t mean we don’t have a persona outside of the organization. In order to build trust and camaraderie, we need to get to know one another on a personal level. Even if we are part of a virtual team we need to lead by asking how members spend their time outside of work. Do they volunteer in an organization that has a cause very dear to them? Are they part of a sports team or enjoy going to the gym? Do they spend time with their families or friends? Just get to know their different interests and begin to build rapport.

2. Identify Each Member’s Strengths

When team members feel they are valued they automatically feel they belong to something bigger than themselves. A great way to develop a high performing team with members trusting one another is by identifying each member’s talents and gifts.

  • Recognize the contributions of each member.
  • See what each person likes to spend their time on. That is a tip-off to their strengths.
  • At a team meeting, go around and ask each team member what they most value about each other. For sure, that will bring to light the gifts everyone possesses.

3. Focus On Praise Rather Than Blame

Sometimes we get caught up in the “blame game” when mistakes are made or deadlines are missed. Instead of spending too much time with that, try becoming cheerleaders for one another. Think of one positive action or compliment to share with a team member each day. Get in the habit of looking for the “good” in each person’s daily contributions. The key is to say it out loud or send an email specifically expressing what they did well that day. Before you know it, a culture of appreciation will emerge and a workplace of trust will result.

4. Empower Each Member To Lead

Finally help each other become stronger leaders by encouraging leadership at every level. One does not need a title or a position to be a leader; only a desire to step forward and hold themselves accountable. Teams cultivate trust when they support leadership for everyone. Empower team members to lead by:

  • Offering stretch assignments to everyone.
  • Acknowledging when a team member takes on a new opportunity outside of their typical job.
  • Creating a workspace where failure is part of success.
  • Encouraging each team member to share their ideas and opinions without judgement.
  • How do you build a strong level of trust on your team?

Related: The Three Most Important Skills for Future Leaders