10 ways to prevent misalignment from eroding trust

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You’d be surprised how many trust issues on teams aren’t actually trust issues.

Well, that’s not totally accurate. They’ve become trust issues, but they didn’t start with team members backstabbing, demonstrating incompetence, or failing to deliver.

A significant proportion of trust issues are actually unresolved alignment issues that are being misinterpreted as malice and ill will.

So, next time you’re setting up a team, invest a little effort in creating alignment at the start so you don’t have to invest a lot of effort in repairing broken trust later.

I’ll give you 10 things you can do to set up a team for success. First, let’s take a quick pass at the nature of trust so you can see why misalignment becomes such a problem.

Trust Issues

Trust comes from the ability to reliably predict how someone else will behave.

You can increase the likelihood that you and your colleagues will trust one another by increasing:

  • The feeling of connection among you that comes from understanding of each other’s moods, habits, and quirks.

With an understanding of the different types of trust, you can implement a set of practices at the start of a project and greatly reduce the likelihood that misalignment will manifest as a trust problem during the course of the project.

The Tips

  1. Formally kick off projects by bringing the team together. Where possible, have the team eat together to take advantage of our very primitive tendency to trust people with whom we eat. (Connection)

The majority of teams have at least some lingering trust issues that are affecting the willingness of team members to collaborate fully with one another.

Beneath the surface, many of these issues stem from a lack of investment in getting aligned at the beginning. Use these simple steps to create connections, establish credibility, strengthen reliability, and demonstrate integrity on your team.

Want some practical tips you can apply immediately to improve trust and address unhealthy conflict on your team? Visit my website to download two chapters from my new book The Good Fight. I’ve included the “Six Conflict Strategies for Nice People.”

Written by

NYT Bestselling Author, Keynote Speaker, Ph.D. Organizational Psychology, Conflict Doctor

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