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Begin building team trust

Rita Perea is president and CEO of Rita Perea Leadership Consulting Associates, specializing in working with Senior Leaders to successfully engage employees, lead teams, manage change and balance work and life.

Trust and people image for Iowa Biz blogWhen working with company leaders to build high-performing teams, I share my mantra, “Culture is created by default or by design.” This means that either a culture’s values and expectations are clearly defined, designed, lived and reinforced daily or the culture just sort of bubbles up from the depths of who-knows-where, creating itself. As leaders and managers I think that we can all agree that defining what we want our organization’s culture to be and then taking steps to achieve and reinforce that design is a much better alternative than leaving it up to chance. It is hard to manage chance. 

In our capitalistic society where we have seen a trend of greed-fueled profits being created at all costs, it is now more important than ever to deliberately add the value of trust to our teams. We have good teams but we want to make them really great high-performing teams. What makes the difference between good and great? Trust. It is hard for people to perform at their very best when there is an absence of trust and a feeling of always looking over your shoulder while working with team mates.  

Teams that lack trust tend to exhibit these behaviors:

  • Spreading gossip as truths with the intention of hurting others
  • Creating a scapegoat: someone to take the blame for the team problems
  • Creating a scapegoat: someone who becomes the center of team jokes
  • Deliberately hiding or misconstruing information
  • Showing a lack of respect for others demonstrated through words, actions or both

As a leader who wants a high-performing team, what is one step that you can take or one action you can model that will begin to build trust?  The answer is simple but not easy- “Be impeccable with your word.”  

“Be impeccable with your word” comes from the wisdom of Don Miguel Ruiz, author of The Four Agreements. “Be impeccable with your word” means that as a leader you will model:

  • Speaking with sincerity  
  • Telling the truth as you know it  
  • Not elaborating, embellishing details but accurately portraying a situation
  • Saying only what you mean
  • Following through on what you promise
  • Avoid using words to devalue yourself or to gossip about others
  • Use the power of your word to move things in a positive direction, not tear things or people down or create negativity and fear 

Simple, right? To begin building trust, monitor and evaluate the words that you use and the things that you say. Can you honestly say that you are “impeccable” with your word and building trust with your team? If not, make a change. Reflect on the words you are choosing. Which words can you use instead to be more inspirational, motivational, respectful, truthful and trustworthy?  

Model being “impeccable with your word” with every interaction and you are well on your way to creating the high-performing team and trusting culture that will support exceeding goal expectations. 



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