Three pillars of building trust in a team setting

Nothing else matters if your team members are not trusting you. It goes without saying, building trust is essential in every facet of our lives. According to the Trust Project at the Kellogg School of Management, the trust is made up of three basic pillars:

Competence: The ability to do something well (and successfully).

Honesty/Integrity: The person or company is truthful; their product will do what they say it will do. They’re not misleading us, and if they do find an issue, they will acknowledge and correct it.

Benevolence: They are acting with your best interests in mind. When you take your car in for repairs, you want to know that the mechanic is doing the repairs you need, not anything extra in order to get paid more or hit a quota.

Book: You’re invited

Invest in building team culture (it takes time)

Simple yet powerful. Having competency in their job is a must have — no surprises there. However, a lot of competent people do stupid stuff by lacking team spirit. To establish a strong team culture, one has to strive for a high-enough bar of competency plus strong interpersonal skills. The latter are not optional — never relegate them to the soft-skills section.

It’s never easy to find the right people based on the above description. But, it’s worthwhile to design your interviews to assess both job competency and interpersonal skills. (It’s a topic for a separate post)

Along the lines, integrity and acting in the best interests of each other are non-negotiable traits. As you work in the best interests of each other, also check, “if you’re acting in the best interests of your organization, stakeholders, and customers.”

I’ll close with another nugget from the text:

“People will ignore some competency issues if you’re honest about them. But if you miss up with the other two pillars honesty and benevolence, you would lose trust in them right away.”

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