Trust is like a jar of marbles
Easily achieving results together. Working in a nice atmosphere. Getting feedback from a colleague. Helping your colleague. Assuming the good intentions of others. Just a few examples of mutual trust: the foundation of an optimally-performing team. Without mutual trust, a highly undesirable situation can arise. You can recognise it by the apparent impression of harmony, vague agreements, lagging results and above all a cool and sometimes stark atmosphere. You are kept busy as a manager, because everyone comes to complain about someone else. Internationally certified team coach Angela van Dorssen talks about her daily practice.
The American lecturer Brené Brown uses the metaphor of the jar of marbles in her TED-talk “The power of vulnerability”. If you experience trust in relationships, you put a marble in the glass jar. If trust is damaged, marbles start to disappear or the jar can even break. Because when small cracks start to widen, a team falls apart. Trust is therefore not set in stone. It belongs on the agenda, just like your finances. By paying attention to the level of trust in your team, you ensure that the marble jar remains more than half full. Once you can see the bottom of the jar, it is already too late. Unfortunately I am often only brought in at that moment. What is already broken cannot always be fixed.
Building trust takes time, while breaking trust is easy. Each team member is responsible for his or her own impact on the team. During team coaching, I press the pause button and I guide team members to also share personal matters with each other. That helps to be vulnerable and to get to know each other better. This immediately creates more understanding and trust. The manager has an exemplary role in building and maintaining trust. I guide him or her in this and I help the team members to discuss and increase trust, even after I have left. I do this by, among other things, making a team contract with the team with agreements about trust and collaboration.
During the COVID 19 pandemic, mutual trust is under additional pressure. Just like with other drastic circumstances such as a reorganization. Many people find it difficult or unprofessional to deal with emotions in a business context. Yet it is necessary to make emotions open for discussion. And to really identify the underlying question or need. My advice is to just do it. Trust is like a driving force in teams. You can see that in the results.
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Connecting Energy article in InfoRegio Haarlemmermeer 2020
(text: May-lisa de Laat /photo: Martine Goulmy)