Building Trust & Respect In Your TeamAug 15, 2022
The last two years have been hard on teams and organizations. There’s no way to sugar coat that.
However, the lack of trust and respect between leaders and their teams isn’t new. It HAS, however, been exacerbated and exposed by first the need for remote work and now the desire to get back to “normal,” or what we had before the world was turned upside down. Organizations had to completely change the way they interacted with teams, and the logical response is to go back to “what we’ve always done.”
As I’ve spoken to my guests over the last few months, I’ve noticed that we all have the same concerns about the state of the morale and culture in the workforce. I’ve experienced this myself prior to leaving my corporate job, and I see plenty of evidence in my social media feeds and conversations with friends, indicating this is a real issue.
I’ve come to the conclusion that at the heart of it all is a lack of trust and respect.
As a consultant and coach, working with clients to change organizational culture, building and empowering leaders at all levels, I am encouraged to see plenty of leaders and organizations that want to change this trajectory. So today, we’re going to look at how to do that. If you find yourself in a situation where team morale and engagement are low, you're frustrated with trying to motivate yourself and others to really care about the direction of the team - this is for you.
Two weeks ago (in the blog), we looked at the importance of trusting yourself, and how to begin that process. Lest you think I've got it all under control, I'll just confess I’m always surprised at my own progress (or lack thereof) in this particular journey, but it’s all just part of how we grow.
But here’s the thing - the ability to trust your team (either as the leader or a member), or to help your team trust YOU - all begins with YOU. It starts with trusting yourself. So, if you’ve not listened to (Ep. 97) or read that blog post yet, I encourage you to go listen, because today's will build on the principles you find there.
Ok let's start with a few definitions.
- First, a reminder, the definition of trust is as follows: the firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something. Synonyms: confidence, belief, faith, freedom from suspicion/doubt
- Second, respect is: a feeling of admiration for a person’s abilities or qualities, or regard for the feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others.
TRUST is integral to any relationship, and is usually earned. Without it, there is no foundation upon which to build. When there is no belief in the reliability of your word, or support, or the strength of connection, we lose confidence and faith in that relationship. We become suspicious, and doubtful.
This is especially true in team relationships. Between the members and between the leaders.
When trust is damaged, the team will not flourish.
RESPECT, on the other hand, while also integral, is what’s given when trust is earned.
Yes, we do use the language of “earning respect,” but in most cases, what we really mean there is trust. It’s difficult to “earn” other's feelings of admiration for your abilities or qualities, or “earn” their regard for your feelings, wishes, rights or traditions of others.
In the arena of team and organizational dynamics, the two go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
But before we “worry” ourselves into a “chicken and egg” cycle, let’s just be real for a second.
Where does it start?
It has to start with you. You’re the leader. Even if you may not be formally recognized as the leader of the team.
Building trust in your team BEGINS with trusting them. It starts with you, and you have to go first. Period.
Trust for others FLOWS out of trusting yourself.
So again, if you’ve not listened to Episode 97, Trust Yourself, you should hop over there, or out to the related blog post first. Because I’m going to quickly apply the same points for how you learn to trust yourself, to how you do that with others.
In it, I defined my framework of Think Critically, Create Imaginatively and Lead Effectively, and how that helps you overcome your own mistrust. Now let’s look at how you can apply that to working in your team or organization. In each of these examples, I’m assuming you’ve begun this work on yourself.
Think Critically - Be willing to diagnose the “problem.”
It might be you - Yep, this is where we put on the “grown up pants." You have to look at your own leadership or engagement and be honest about how you are contributing to the group dynamic. IF you’re the leader, do you trust your team? In talking with last week’s guest, Mari Anne Snow, I was reminded how obvious the lack of trust becomes when employers require staff to be on site so they can “see” them working.
IF you’re the leader, are you a worthy role model? Are you engaging the way you would like the rest of the team to engage? Or are you asking them to meet one standard while you meet another?
It might be a toxic team member - take a look at how every other member is engaged, contributing or leading within the team and how that affects the dynamic. Any ONE person can completely throw off the balance of the entire team. If it’s not you, being honest and figuring out who it actually is will give you so much good information. If you determine you have this kind of situation, you may or may not be able to do something about it. But we’ll get into some ideas in a minute.
It might be the organizational culture or even the structure.
- Organizational culture can be a real bear to tackle, especially if the culture has been developed or allowed to grow without checks and balances for many years. But when the leadership is dedicated to truly making a difference, and the team can see it, morale begins to shift, upping engagement and ownership. Keep in mind, however, this can be quite effective in small to mid-sized organizations. Tackling this on a larger scale can be a real challenge and take years. Just keeping the expectations real.
- Organizational structure, however, can make an immediate difference (especially in small to midsize organizations), because clear boundary lines can be established, people can be placed in positions that highlight their strengths, skills and abilities, and allow for new leaders to emerge. If people are in leadership roles not suited to their strengths, skills or abilities the organization will struggle. If the structure of an organization inhibits information flow or leadership development, the whole organization will stagnate.
You need to know the players - all of them.
- What are their strengths? What are their skills? Are they in the right positions based on that information?
- How are they wired to communicate? This is where DISC types come in VERY handy. Just knowing how best to communicate with someone can clear up misunderstandings and frustration, allowing for peace and productivity.
- What are their interests? Have you invested time in understanding where they are coming from? Do you know their dreams and aspirations for their work, for their life?
- Do they know these things about you?
Create Imaginatively - Uncover and demonstrate the value of individual strengths.
This is where you get to build respect through demonstrating your own abilities and skills, and uncovering, highlighting and developing the skills and abilities of the individual team members. This is also how you can demonstrate (or model) regard for their feelings or traditions.
Get creative about solutions - if your organization isn’t where you want it to be (structurally, culturally, productively), then what you’ve been doing isn’t working. Go back to “thinking critically” and start over. Doing things the way you have always done them BECAUSE that’s the way you’ve always done them is not the answer. You don’t need to be right. You also don’t need to go it alone.
Ask for help. This is what I do as a consultant and coach. I use tools, workshops and coaching to give each team member new information on how to best lead themselves and engage in changing the culture of the organization. I then provide the leadership with the information they need to implement changes from their perspective.
- One client said to me (she's a team leader) “Understanding that most of my team are “C’s” (Compliant - detail oriented), I now know to be more clear in how I do things. I tell them how something will impact them, using facts… my BIGGEST takeaway…slow things down.” It’s completely changed the engagement in her team.
- Another client gave me a list of all her “significant work relationships,” and how she is actively changing the way she communicates with each one according to THEIR style. Yep, her emails are getting answered. Projects are getting completed, and they are trusting her more and more.
Continuing education on specific skill sets or growth & development opportunities designed to grow individual leaders to benefit the entire organization include:
- Tools: DISC assessments and debriefs - in which individuals learn how they are wired to communicate and lead, and then how to recognize the unique communication needs of others based on their wiring. I cannot express how earth shaking this process can be.
- Leadership Coaching: working with individuals who could benefit from one on one attention to help them grow more quickly - for any reason. They might need some basics on personal growth, or perhaps they are one of those rising star team members who just need a little nudge to set them on a nice trajectory. Executive leaders benefit from coaching through the change process, diagnosing issues in their leadership and the culture of their organization.
- Workshops and Training: Lunch-n-Learns, Mastermind Groups, Book studies, Leadership Communication games, all designed to promote individual growth, awareness and group collaboration.
Once you get through the Think Critically and Create Imaginatively process, it’s time to:
Lead Effectively - Use what you've learned
If the changes need to start with you, do so. If you need help to begin diagnosing issues, ask. If you need help getting creative, ask. Of course ask me, but there may be well qualified people around you with whom you can get a good honest picture of what’s going on.
Get a little COURAGEOUS - the third tenet of Intentional Optimism, and is all about Courageous Leadership. There are three characteristics every good leader possesses, and they are:
- Charisma - Valuing others, they can tell (trust me) and are attracted to you.
- Servanthood - Putting others first, you know this is the best way to lead.
- Vision - Seeing what can be, and sharing it with others.
Ask yourself how can you live into it, embody it? Which characteristic of a Courageous Leader is most needed in your leadership?
Become a little WISER - to grow in the 5th tenet of Intentional Optimism, you need to look at the way you:
- See:Your Understanding - Seeing all the sides, the spiritual, physical, mental, and the realities of the world around her.
- Speak: Words you use - Are you careful, understanding that words matter, using words that are helpful, encouraging, and build others up.
- Do: Respect - Do you model respect for those you leads, understanding and setting boundaries, and are therefore respected because you respect first?
You CAN change the culture of your team or organization.
You CAN have an impact on engagement, trust and respect.
You might need some paradigm shifts - we can do that.
You might need some new communication skills - we can do that.
Your team, your organization deserves for you to be the BEST leader you can. Even if you’re not the boss. Your team needs you to step up and embrace the responsibility of thinking critically, so you can come up with some creative and imaginative solutions to then lead effectively.
It all starts with you.
You are the leader.
Even if you’re NOT the formal leader of the team.
Remember, trust for others FLOWS out of trusting yourself. Likewise, building trust in your team BEGINS with trusting them. It starts with you, and you have to go first. Period.
Additionally = RESPECT, and TRUST go hand in hand. You can’t have one without the other.
Respect is what’s given when trust is earned.
My passion is to equip and empower YOU. I build up people who then build up organizations. Can I help you think more critically? Do you need help creating imaginative options?
Well, here I am! I equip and empower female leaders to think critically, create imaginatively and lead effectively - in any situation, team or organization. That could be your family, your church, your community or your job.
It brings me GREAT joy to watch you realize your own leadership potential as you develop trust in yourself and your team.
So the question is - how can I help you?
Set up a 30 min consultation where we can figure out exactly what you need.
Until next time.
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