An overview of the key elements behind creating the environment and building the trust that leads to top-performing teams.

Research has shown that the human brain is at best only 10% functional. The same can be said for most companies. How much difference would it make to your bottom line if your teams could discover their hidden potential?

Whether you’re a COO, CMO, CHRO or CVO, you work with others. Are you reaping the benefits that come from top-performing teams?

Building strong relationships based on trust—and creating the right environment—can enable you to realize the gains that lead to top performance and give your teams a competitive advantage. Because relationships built on trust lead to the engagement behind top performance, and providing the right environment is a key part of the equation for success.

So what’s the formula for top-performing teams? It all starts with integrity at work—infusing fundamental principles about how to treat others and how to build the type of character that leads to trustworthiness. For example, seeking first to understand, treating others with respect, and speaking the truth tactfully.

The next step involves developing emotional intelligence through authenticity building—learning to recognize the lenses through which we see the world and widening our lenses to incorporate others’ views. By widening our lenses, discovering where our lenses may be cloudy, and striving to see things more clearly, we see ourselves, situations and others more objectively.

After authenticity building comes creating inclusive networks and structures in which people can participate and have a meaningful voice. This entails building networks that connect people who might not otherwise be connected. While doing so is necessary for top performance, more is required.

Once forums are created where people can connect, effective communication becomes the focus. Active, respectful dialogue in the interest of the good of the team or organization enables everyone to recognize the multiple perspectives that people hold and consider how best to support various views. Later in this series, we’ll talk about the key elements of effective communication and how they lead to top performance.

Next comes trust. Trust is built from: (1) integrity, (2) authenticity and emotional intelligence, (3) inclusive networks and structures, (4) effective communication, (5) fair procedures, and (6) trustworthiness. In turn, trust leads to engagement, innovation, cooperation, information and resource sharing, efficiency, top performance, and ultimately a competitive advantage. In addition, the satisfaction that comes from being part of a winning team decreases the likelihood that people will leave—taking their knowledge, skills and abilities with them.

But people are human and trust inevitably gets weakened or broken. Learning how to repair trust can actually strengthen it and increase the team identity and cohesion that lead to top performance.

To learn more about what’s behind top team performance—and to discover the key to building top-performing teams—read the rest of this top-performing teams series.

And to learn how your team compares to top-performing teams, click here to participate in our latest study and receive a free team profile.

Action items:

  • Ask yourself if your teams and organization are functioning at top performance
  • If not, imagine the impact to your bottom line if your teams and organization were top-performing
  • Reflect upon which elements behind building trust come naturally to your teams and organization and which may be less developed



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