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Is Your Team Trusting or Just Polite?



Trust is a vital element for having your team successfully working like a well-oiled machine. Being polite may give the appearance of a trusting team, but in reality it can be merely a façade. Here are four steps to help you achieve and maintain a trusting work environment.

Recognise the Symptoms of Low Trust

Viewing communications can often give an insight into the trust levels. If most meaningful conversations happen outside of the meeting room, then it is a cause for concern. Overrunning presentations that don’t allow the team time for discussions make members of the team feel they don’t contribute.

Start Uncomfortable Conversations

This can be hard in teams that are excessively polite, but it should not be avoided. Difficult dialogue should not be left until the end of the meeting, as the timing will cause little constructive conversation. Instead they should be brought up at the beginning or the middle. It can also be beneficial to have a separate space to use because this can help confine the uncomfortable situation and reduce scripted or over polite responses.

Encourage Transparency

Senior executive may believe in keeping a distance between themselves and their staff, but there are benefits in actively revealing and sharing thoughts, beliefs and emotions that go through your mind. Being open in sharing our thoughts is essential for building trust, and it helps give constructive feedback.

Maintain Difficult Conversations

Difficult situations are often replayed in our minds, but executives will often feel the need to move on quickly to another issue. It is better to return to any moment when a team member might have felt hurt, perhaps a day or a week later, after most uncomfortable feeling have subsided. This will show that despite some difficulties, you are still supportive of the person. As a contrast, avoiding them will show that you still don’t trust them.

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