A star can be created in a single moment - one brave act, one incredible play - that embeds them in our memory forever. Of course, we know hours and hours of work went into that single act, or play. Unfortunately, that’s not what those observing gather. They see the moment, the sole act.
Trust is viewed the same way. We see a team that is clicking and operating at maximum capacity and we make the false assumption that it just happened. We look at other groups and other teams and wonder what they did. We go to clinics and workshops hoping to hear the secret to these high performing teams, but often leave with nothing more than a few ideas we can apply to our next sale or game.
The reason those ideas fade away is because they don’t truly address the driving force for team performance - trust. Trust doesn’t work like that. Trust is a day by day, brick by brick, undertaking. Those teams performing at an optimal level have invested significant, intentional, time working on their trust - whether we see that work or not.
Why Should We Care? For those of us leading teams, the recognition of this is vital to our team’s performance. If we want to maximize the potential of our team, we must commit to making this hidden work the priority. This formative time should become our primary focus, not a secondary option.
Here are some tools to foster trust on your team.
REAL TALK - Action Steps
It’s All About the Mortar - What are the parts of a brick house? The bricks are the obvious answer, but it’s the mortar that holds it all together. Without the mortar, there is no house - or at least not a very strong one. Watch the video above . What’s the mortar on your team? What are 3 things you can do to strengthen that mortar? (www.whatdriveswinning.com)
Parents - What are 5 habits, or practices, within your family that make it unique? What makes your family different? As a family, brainstorm as many ‘mortar-like’ actions each member contributes to your home. This is a great time to also talk about family values - those are the bricks!
Coaches/Managers - Have each teammate identify their role within the team and what “mortar” they contribute to the team. Ask each to also share “mortar” 2 other teammates provide to the group.
Teammates - Make a daily goal of encouraging 1 teammate to share his best “mortar” throughout the next practice or workout.
2. Scar Therapy - We all have scars - some physical, some mental - and each one has its own story of how it happened and what you learned from it. Often these stories go untold unless we are asked specifically about it. This activity simply opens up that conversation as a means to allow vulnerability and build trust.
Parents - Parent goes first, sharing 3 scars and a brief story behind each. Then, share the full story about your most memorable scar and why that scar stands out to you more than the others. What, if any, lesson did you learn from the scar? Circle share - allow each member of the family to do the same.
Coaches/Managers - Leader goes first, sharing 3 scars and a brief story behind each. Then, share the full story about your most memorable scar and why that scar stands out to you more than the others. What, if any, lesson did you learn from the scar? Circle share - allow each member of the team to do the same.
Teammates - Follow the same process as in the coaches section. Follow-up with 2 teammates whose story you found particularly interesting. Let them know you appreciate their willingness to share and open up to the team.
3. Hot Seat - For this activity, you may need to establish areas that are off limits. This will be based on what type of group or team you have and the level of openness and trust they possess.
Parents - Parent goes first. For 2 minutes, your family can ask any question they want. The person on the Hot Seat should answer quickly, without filtering or considering. Each member of the family then goes for 2 minutes.
Coaches/Managers - Leader goes first. For 2 minutes, your team can ask any question they want. The person on the Hot Seat should answer quickly, without filtering or considering. Each member of the team then goes for 2 minutes.
Teammates - Follow the same process as in the coaches section. It’s important to be aware that an inappropriate question from a teammate can harm trust as much as the activity helps build it. Respect the privacy of your teammates in areas you know to be sensitive. They will be vulnerable in these areas on their timeline, not yours.
*See the resource page for further details on each team building activity at http://www.bluecollargrit.com/resources.html The leader in all of these exercises is critical. The goal is vulnerability. Your team will reflect your willingness to be vulnerable. If you want trust, you must open up. Vulnerability precedes trust, not the other way around.
For more information on building excellence in your teams, visit us at www.bluecollargrit.com. We would love to know how we could help!