Establishing Trust

Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.

Trust is a bigger deal in companies, especially as cross-functional teams strive to develop a cohesive strategy to drive innovation. Unfortunately, leaders are discovering that no matter how talented a team may be, innovative ideas may flounder and productivity may drop if team members lack trust in one another.

This lack of trust can be the result of several different factors. Human beings often make snap judgments about people they meet for the first time, but our own intuition can be wrong when judging those we don’t know well. First impressions are not always the best way to judge a person and can prove to be inaccurate.

Further, some employees may have had poor experiences working on cross-functional teams in the past, further eroding their willingness to trust such teams again. Additional obstacles to establishing trust include old-fashioned turf battles, poor communications and an unwillingness to change how work gets done.

One of the lessons learned is that in the first meeting everyone wants to jump in and fix whatever it is in five minutes. But it’s best if they take an hour or so just to understand one another – to know the background of those in the room.

Summing-up: Managers must serve as “integrators” for teams, helping members better communicate and understand one another. Establishing trust is the “No. 1 challenge for leaders”.

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