Posted by: healingtheworkplace | February 27, 2012

Build Trust to Overcome Workplace Dysfunction

Hello! While preparing to teach Leading the Team at Douglas College I came across the book The Five Dysfunctions of Teams by Patrick Lencioni. The author has created a model of team development that includes five areas a team must pay attention to in order to succeed:

  • Results
  • Accountability
  • Commitment
  • Conflict
  • Trust

Trust is the foundation upon which the success of the team rests.

What does a team without trust look like? According to Pollyanna Pixton there are several signs of a non-trusting team:

  • Fear
  • Withholding information
  • Lack of engagement
  • Negative and defensive behavior
  • Impatience
  • Gossip and complaining

Pixton also makes the distinction between “broken trust” and “lack of trust”. Once trust is “broken” it is very difficult to repair the damage. Lacking trust implies that the trust was not there to begin with but if a team lacks trust it can be developed.

What can teams do to develop and maintain trust?

Leaders have the biggest impact on developing trust. As a leader you must be authentic (Kouzes and Posner, authors of The Leadership Challenge, refer to this as having credibility). You must give up both command and control and micromanaging. By micromanaging you are, in fact, telling people you don’t trust them.

And what if you have broken the trust of someone you work with? Randy Conley, Trust Practice Leader for Ken Blanchard, has this advice:

  1. Acknowledge – that trust has been broken.
  2. Admit – your role in causing the break.
  3. Apologize – sincerely.
  4. Assess – where the breakdown in trust happened.
  5. Amend – by taking corrective action to repair the damage.

Not convinced? Here’s an added bonus! People who are trusting are more likely to be happy and psychologically adjusted.


PS Thanks to Cindy for introducing me to The Five Dysfunctions of Teams!


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