Everyone fears the unknown. We are creatures of habit. We like things that are familiar. Fear is not always a bad thing, though. In fact, fear helps us survive. It is a survival instinct. When things feel unsafe, we run and thus, we live another day. Though, fear can be great in certain situations, it can also be counter productive especially when it comes to organizations.
If people fear, people will not trust and trust is crucial for the advancement of any organization or team. Without trust, things sort of take a tumble. From communication to productivity to looking out for your team members, it can’t be done without trust. If people don’t trust each other everyone acts individually. Acting individually does not create an environment for teamwork.
Leaders eliminate fear by building trust. To eliminate fear you have to build a foundation just like you would when building a house. You can do this by getting to know the people around you. When you know them and understand their values, standards and beliefs a connection is made. A connection that allows you and them to see that at the foundation you may share many values, standards and beliefs. Once that connection is made, you’ve made the first step in building trust. If they know you on the same level that you know them they will come to you. They will use you and they will communicate with you. A team is built.
When getting to know your team, you are essentially creating an environment where people want to be. Trust will thrive if the environment is right; a safe place where people want to be, a place where people want to communicate, a place where people want to work together. Knowing your team isn’t the end all be all to building trust, but it’s a really great place to start.
I remember being back at my first squadron. Every other Friday we would do what our commander called Analog Leadership. This is where instead of taking time to do physical training we would break from work and physical training and do one thing…talk to each other.
The idea was to get to know the people you work with. It was a time to actually talk with your immediate supervisors and simply learn about each other and share ideas. I never would have known deeply about my coworkers had we not intentionally sat down to do so. I believe it made a stronger team and it built more trust between us because we now understand who each of us were. It created this vulnerability between each of us and when you become vulnerable to others you trust them. We created an environment of trust. We created an environment of high performance. We were a team.
If you find your team members struggling to get along I encourage you to break from the normal routine and perform a little analog leadership. This will allow each of them to talk about the things they would not otherwise know. Trust will not happen over night or after one session, but it’s a foundation to build on.