As I reflect upon my life and career and think about the relationships that I have built and maintained over time, they all have a common denominator. The same is true for every successful project team that I’ve been a part of. It is also something that, when lacking, will derail anything you are trying to accomplish.
I am speaking about trust.
If you look up the definition of trust in Merriam-Webster’s dictionary, you find the following:
Assured reliance on the character, ability, strength, or truth of someone or something.
These words convey the powerful, emotional attributes that are so highly valued in everyone. But when trust is a missing ingredient in your personal or professional relationships, it can be extremely stressful. Trust is such a vital element in our lives and yet for many people it is a constant struggle to give and receive trust from others.
In the workplace where there is such a collection of brilliant minds, all seeking to shine the brightest, there is strong dynamic that can lead to conflict. This is particularly true when forming a new team or adding new members to an existing one. Establishing some simple guiding principles and core values for people to follow, you can help set the stage for building trust. They can lay the foundation of the culture you want to create and set expectations on how people should conduct themselves.
Guiding Principles and Core Values:
Act with Equality: treat each person with respect by listening, not judging. Trust begins with listening to what others have to say and valuing their opinion.
Act with Integrity: be open and honest with others, speaking the truth in a positive manner. Trustworthy individuals are those that consistently model good behaviors.
Act Collaboratively: work as a team towards a common goal, and share the credit for being successful. Be an active participant rather than being on the sidelines, to let others know that you are committed to the same goal.
Enjoy the Moment: recognize and reward success, big or small. Make the workplace a fun and exciting place to be for everyone.
As you roll out your guiding principles and core values, be sure to communicate expectations with everyone. If you fail to obtain a commitment from everyone it may come back to haunt you. Make sure to hold everyone accountable to Living the Core Values and recognize those who consistently do so. Above all you must lead by example and be a role model for the behavior that your expect from others.
Lastly, keep your finger on the pulse of your team and continuously solicit feedback and input on ways to keep improving. Life is a journey and so is the workplace dynamic which ebbs and flows like the tide. As people come and go from the organization, the culture can drift and suddenly you may find yourself wondering how everything changed. Rely on your foundational core message as your compass, and stay true to your core beliefs. If you value trust in others as well as yourself, you know what I mean.