When the Australian team admitted to ball tampering during a recent test match against South Africa at Newlands, one of the most tangible ramifications of the team’s actions was a break down in trust. A group of players that an entire nation respected and revered had acted deceptively, leading many to question their credibility.
Watching Steve Smith’s public apology for his role in the scandal, I couldn’t help but think about leadership and how important it is for a leader to build trust among all the members of his or her team. But this credibility and trust doesn’t only exist internally, it is also important that “outsiders” have trust in your team and their abilities. Within a sporting situation, these outsiders are sporting fans; within a business context they are your existing clients, your partners and potential customers.
And let’s face it, sometimes you make mistakes and trust is broken. But the trick is to admit that you were wrong and make things right as swiftly as possible. It can be a painful experience but once you’ve taken responsibility, you and your team can work together to move forward.
Trust and credibility go beyond simply getting people to believe that you’ll follow through on your promises. What few people realise is that when there is solid trust within a business, operations are more efficient and, inevitably, this lowers costs.
Some of my key ingredients for ensuring credibility and promoting solid teamwork include:
Aligning values: Every business should have core values – a list of fundamental beliefs and principles that guide behaviour. Each employee in your business will also have their own, personal values. When it comes to fostering trust and guaranteeing credibility, business values and personal values should align. These values are the glue that keeps people together. When hiring new staff, it’s important to conduct competency based interviews by setting out scenarios that test a potential employee’s instincts. These assessments will reveal if their instincts align with the kind of company you want to create.
Identifying strengths and weaknesses: If everyone in the team knows where each member’s different strengths and weaknesses lie, they won’t call on someone to do something that isn’t their forte. This improves team morale as people are assigned tasks that they are confident in doing and everyone trusts that they have the ability to get the job done.
Never underestimate your team’s achievements: For me, it’s so important to finish the race, rather than stopping before the challenge is over. Sure, it may be tough and you may be struggling but completing what you set out to do is a great way to build credibility and to up team spirit.
As retired professional basketball player, Michael Jordan once said: “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence win championships”. It is only through solid teamwork and good leadership that businesses can reach their true potential.
To read more insights like these, subscribe to Nebula’s monthly newsletter below. And be sure to keep an eye on our blog to read the other instalments in my series of posts about the four circles of leadership.