Today’s article originally appeared on strengthspartnership.com, written by consultant Ana Loback. Strengths Partnership is the U.K. company formed by the creators of Strengthscope, James Brook and Paul Brewerton.

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Trust is a commitment to cooperate before there is any certainty about how the trusted people will act. (Coleman, 1990).

A vast body of research supports the many positives of teamwork in organisations, particularly when the work demands a wider scope of knowledge[1].

The very reason why work teams exist is the assumption that we can have better results by combining people’s efforts, strengths and energy together into achieving common outcomes. However, work teams are highly complex in nature and sustained team peak performance is not a simple feat. Organisational life is marked by different tensions that are inherent to employee relations: there are leaders and followers, employers and employees, both groups with different objectives. To break through these tensions is not easy, it takes trust to create an environment where personal agendas are set aside for the pursuit of the common goals.

Team trust is at the heart of true collaboration, it’s a driving force for productivity, growth and teamwork; it increases commitment and improves communication.

Our research indicates that teams with better awareness of their strengths have a significant advantage, perform better and ultimately have a more positive environment that fosters trust amongst the team members.

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Ambiguity breeds mistrust and it generates feelings of insecurity. The greater the clarity about roles and responsibilities and also about what energises and motivates everyone in the team, the easier it is for individuals to know what to expect and what is expected of them.

Knowing your own strengths but also those of your team mates can help build awareness of what energises and motivates the team as a whole but also how you can compliment each other in areas of strength.

Sharing your strengths with each other, what you can be called on for, can create a more positive environment that fosters collaboration and commitment. Sharing your performance risks as well, what you can be called out for, puts everything out in the open, building trust and improving communication.

[1] Stewart et al., 1999; Mohrman, Cohen and Mohrman, 1995

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