As I was reading through a collection of questions I had received from leaders at a recent speaking engagement, I came across this one:
How do you foster a thriving team dynamic with people who have diverse ages, stages and backgrounds?
Reading this leader’s question immediately reminded me of Patrick Lencioni’s bestselling book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. In the book, Lencioni walks us through not only the root causes of ineffective teams but also the keys to overcoming them. His book highlights the essential foundation all strong teams are built upon:
How do you foster a thriving team dynamic, regardless of how similar or different your team members appear to be? Build trust amongst your team members.
I remember one of my earliest experiences in management where the team was crumbling because of a shaky trust foundation. None of us on the management team really knew each other beyond our titles and general responsibilities. We didn’t have faith in each other’s capabilities, because we didn’t really know what they were. We were a collection of professionals with varying expertise who didn’t trust the other leaders in the room to make good decisions (or carry them through).
If there is no trust, there is no team.
Without trust, you have a collection of individuals–not a team–doing their own things. With trust, you have a team of talent working with each other, not against each other.
As a leader, you can build trust through intentional investment in connection. Help your team members get to know each other and how they are uniquely wired through personality and strengths assessments. Foster environments for purposeful play beyond the office through teambuilding days and retreats. Create space for hearing their stories and passions through intentional conversations over a great meal.
By building trust, you are strengthening your team’s foundation and, ultimately, their potential for success.