One of the main reasons for team conflict is the lack of trust. If you ask your team members if they trust each other, many will initially say “yes.” But when you dig a little deeper, you often find that trust is at best conditional.
Trust typically breaks down because of broken promises, lack of follow-through, and/or too many mistakes. When you lose trust in team members, you often double check their work, you hesitate to rely on what they tell you, and you go through your day with a certain degree of doubt. Consider what this does to the effectiveness of the entire team.
The Russian playwright Anton Checkhov once said, “You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible.” When trust is lacking, great teamwork becomes impossible.
How then do you build trust? First, you and your team must follow-through with what you say. You must hold yourself and others accountable for promises. One of the biggest poisons to teamwork is a team member or leader who is allowed to break promises without accountability.
The next important element of building trust is to always communicate important details. Those details may help the team address the concerns of a patient more effectively. Those details may contain an admission of something that was missed, and by owning up to the error immediately you ensure the mistake is quickly addressed.
Finally, building trust involves consistency. You have to show consistency with positive feedback, showing fairness during disputes, and aligning behavior with the mission statement of the practice. Consistency is not easy, but like many things that require effort, the payoff is substantial. You can’t establish trust without consistency.
If you want to build a stronger team, consider how you can fine-tune trust. Because if trust is lacking, you will never have effective teamwork.
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