Leaders: Trust and the Team
By Bob Handwerk
A well accepted principle of effective leadership is that of trust. Without unconditional trust the relationship between team members and management is held together by only the very thin filament of organizational control ” Me boss – You Employee”.
The term “servant leadership” is much in vogue. For many leaders there is a religious attachment to the phrase. With good reason.
There is a significant connection between trust, servant leadership, and the success of a team.
By definition, one of the purposes of a “team”, is the collaborative sharing of ideas, knowledge, and resources in order to enact best practices solutions. Team members are perceived as equals with the senior management person there providing a listening ear and acting as a informative shepherd.
When the chemistry of “trust” is present a very interesting group->leader interaction takes place. There may be expectations for the senior person to carry out certain actions. The group may have decided, for example, on a reconfiguration of a work cell. This involves the need for a discussion by the manager with a long term employee and a reassignment of them. This will be a very difficult meeting. At the time of commitment with the group, there is every expectation that the manager will move forward.
Follow through is essential. Trust is in the balance. Future behavior modeling by team members will only occur if the leader carries out what he/she has promised. The team leader has become the servant of the team. This means no waffling, or procrastination, or significantly modifying the agreed upon action. Returning to the team and saying ” I had second thoughts” usually is a trust breaker.
Obviously if there is VERY VERY significantly new information or a change in circumstances that prevents the action from taking place then all bets are off. However, this should be a rare exception.
With the example of a “proof is in the pudding” in hand, teams take on a new mantle. Members begin to trust each other more and more. They also now have more trust in the leader.
The result – Discussions are more open and candid. Problem solving is attacked with greater vigor and turf wars recede into the background. Any fear of retribution by team members when areas of disagreement are laid on the table is muted and dissolves over time.
In addition, the esprit de corps of the team grows into commitment and loyalty to the team and the organization. As with other human experiences such as happiness, these positive characteristics are passed along to fellow employees, customers and vendors.
Bob Handwerk provides coaching and training services to small and midsized firms. Particular emphasis on group dynamics and team building/leadership success. Visit my website at http: http://www.rlhassociates.com to link to all 40 articles. Comments on recent articles can be made on facebook at rlh&associates. If he can be of service: call him at 262-903-1602.