How about starting the next meeting of your leadership team with a personal check-in? Take a few minutes at the start of the session for each member to report on the last trip or vacation that person made. Getting to know each other personally, not just professionally, is an excellent way to grow trust. Building trust with a group is critical to ensure high performance.
I define trust as, “I get that you authentically have my best interest at heart, not just your own.” We know from Patrick Lencioni’s excellent work, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, that trust is the first thing a leader has to build in a high-functioning team. Without that key element, it is every person for him or herself, and there is no cooperation, collaboration, or mutual support. Of course, while trust is indeed a requirement, it is not sufficient.
There must be clarity on the values and vision of the team and organization so that everyone is focused on achieving the same goal. Values underpin everything in the organization, and the purpose must be based on the values. Additionally, values are how people make decisions. If leadership cannot have faith that the right choice will be made, then they cannot give autonomy to their employees. One other requirement for independence is making sure the people have the training and the tools to do the task assigned.
Often times, when a leader delegates to an employee, they find that things don’t go as expected. If the leader is confident that people clearly understand the values and the vision as well as the immediate task in front of them, then a lack of training is likely the cause for the employee’s failure. It is incumbent on leadership to make sure that the employees have all the tools they need. Including, of course, leadership training! The only way to be sure that the bases are covered is to observe and ask questions.
The check-in concept is, to my way of thinking, more than just taking a few minutes to catch up on a colleague’s vacation. Leaders and team members should be continuously checking-in with each other about the values and vision of the company. They should be making sure that they and each of their colleague has the training and tools to do their respective tasks. Continuous check-in is holding ourselves and our teams accountable.
To build trust, rapport, and better relationships among team members, start your meetings with trip reports or other types of personal, non-business topics. The purpose of building trust is so that teammates will help each other live out the values and vision of the organization. Continuously check-in with employees to make sure that as things change, they are keeping up with the challenge. Autonomy, Mastery, and Purpose are all enhanced if leaders continually check-in with their employees and insist that they do the same with their teams.