A member of our community emailed last week and said she’s having trouble with a member of her team. She reports that occasionally when this person is handed work that someone else has done, this person will go back and re-do all the work before proceeding with their own job.
The offender explains it as doing her due diligence, but for all the obvious reasons, this is aggravating and frustrating for both team dynamics and efficiency. She asked, “What can I do?”
Like so many team challenges, it’s likely the situation has arisen from a lack of trust. While capable of being quickly lost, trust takes time to build or rebuild. Here are 5 ways she (and you) could get started to establish trust:
1) Build rapport: Few people trust anyone that doesn’t communicate with them. I’ve seen countless examples of teams where the person with the “trust issues” has been ostracized in the organization (sometimes deservingly). Even if deserved, it’s up to you to rekindle rapport. Ask them how their weekend was. Offer to take them to lunch. Don’t worry, the cool kids will still talk to you (this isn’t junior high…even if it sometimes feels like it).
2) See things from their perspective: Once you’ve had some dialogue, take a moment to consider this: why have they lost trust with our team or me? What have we done that’s contributed to the situation? I can’t recall a time where I’ve observed one member of a team with trust issues and not found that the actions (or inactions) of colleagues contributed to it.
3) Make deposits: Relationships are like bank accounts. If we want them to be valuable, we need to make more deposits than withdrawals. Find something that you can do to help out the party and take action. Don’t ask for (or expect) anything in return. Start doing this on a regular basis. Expect no noticeable change for awhile…just like at the bank.
4) Start small: One of the biggest obstacles to trust-building is our impatience. In a world where software updates come daily, we expect instant turnarounds with people too. If the ultimate goal is to build trust on large projects, begin with getting buy-in on something small. Ask for help when commitment and risk from the other party is low. Do that for awhile and build from there.
5) Recognize change: When you get some reciprocation from the other party, take time to acknowledge it. Dale Carnegie famously said, “Praise the slightest improvement and praise every improvement.” Thanking the other party encourages the behavior to continue. When you do, you set yourself apart as an influencer.
Of course, you won’t be successful in every situation. In this case, business realities may require a directive not to do re-work…but recognize that such directives generally zap any remaining trust. The most effective managers avoid barking orders until they’ve exhausted all these other options.
What will you do to rekindle trust today? Tell us in the comments below.