Every successful team is built on a foundation of trust, and balanced teams are no different. This is because collaboration is fundamental to the balanced team approach, and productive collaboration cannot occur until a strong foundation of trust has been established. While there is no one approach that will instantly establish trust on your team, there are many small steps that you can take to begin the process of building the level of trust necessary for your team to be successful.
As VMware Tanzu Labs Designer Peter Wallace suggests, “Get to know people on a personal level. Learn where they came from, what their life outside of work is like and find out what motivates them in life. You can also build trust by showing that you are vulnerable, willing to learn from your mistakes and ready to learn together with your team.”
One such step is to establish a culture of psychological safety both inside and outside the boundaries of your team. Psychological safety encourages the members of your team to take intelligent risks without fear of retribution, and grants them the freedom to express their concerns openly and honestly to promote the productive discussion that’s necessary for a team to collaborate successfully.
VMware Design Practice Lead Becky Hyde agrees: “The most successful products I’ve worked on were delivered by teams in which everyone felt they could share any idea and jump into any conversation. We had so much trust on the team, we were constantly building on each other’s ideas, regardless of our role on the team.”
Another such step is to demonstrate trust by not only trusting your team members to always act in the best interest of the business, but also trusting those same team members to ask for help when they aren’t sure what those interests are. This hands-off approach can sometimes be unnerving for managers who aren’t used to granting this level of trust to their teams, but it’s a necessary step for giving your team the space they need to work together more effectively.