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Mutual Trust

Ultimately, the effectiveness of any team is always judged by results they achieve. Establishing trust is the first hurdle in building an effective team. Without trust, team members will be reticent in speaking openly. Trust helps them to have the courage to say exactly what is on their minds.

Trust is the key factor in “bonding” and is essential for creating internal cohesion. Trust is an “end” value: it is dependent on other values to be present before it can exist. The principal components of trust are shown in the following diagram. (Click on diagram to enlarge)

The principle components of trust

If you want to evaluate the level of trust in your leadership team or any other team, ask each member of the team to identify which elements of the trust matrix they believe are the strongest and the weakest in the way the team operates.

Give every person 5 points to allocate to the strengths, and 5 points to allocate to the weaknesses. They can allocate the points in any combination to each of the twelve components of the trust matrix. As each person declares their allocation of points, they also explain to the rest of the team why they have chosen to allocate their points in that particular way. Add up the results for the whole team. This will immediately identify which elements of trust are most lacking, and which elements are most present.

Based on these findings begin an open dialogue on how to build on the strengths and minimize the weaknesses that the team have collectively identified. At the end of this discussion, ask each member of the team to state which elements of the trust matrix they are least competent in, and what they are doing, or can do improve. This exercise makes the whole team accountable for improving the level of trust.


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