How absence of trust and debates is ruining your teamwork

ECP6 Aug20

Great teams are made up a lot of things. Discipline, communication, common goals, diverse thinking and much more. But what are two things which can stop your team from performing remarkably?

Without wasting any time, let’s get into our topic. Trust and debates can enable your team to achieve milestones. So, let’s discuss these two pillars of teamwork in detail:

Absence of trust

Every great team that has evert existed had one thing in common, trust. Highly-functioning and efficient teams have trust among their members. 

If you don’t have trust in your team, achieving teamwork is impossible for you. The word trust has become a buzzword and it has lost its value. Whenever we talk about trust, it sounds like something related to motherhood. 

So, it is very important that before discussing trust we have an idea that what it really is, especially in the context of teamwork. 

Trust is when each member of the team is sure that the intentions of their peers are not bad. They don’t think about staying protective. They don’t stay careful when they are surrounded by other team members.

They are comfortable sharing their weaknesses and vulnerabilities with other team members.

Humans predict the behaviour of other people based on experience. For instance, if someone in your team always finishes a task before the deadline, you will trust him with finishing any deadline because he has always finished tasks before deadlines in the past. 

If your team has an absence of trust, members of your team will spend a lot of time trying to hide their mistakes to manage their behaviour within the group. They will even struggle when asking.

Building trust

Team members trust each other when they are sure about the fact that their shortcoming or weaknesses won’t be used against them in the future. Maybe one of your employees have an interpersonal shortcoming, while the other one makes mistakes every time, he does something. 

What you to have assurance as a leader is no one is using any of their weaknesses against them in any debate or argument. If they do so, your team members will grow defensive and protective against each other. Protective behaviour can make them cynical which further leads to politics. 

Lack of debates

We don’t need to spend a lot of time explaining this problem because it is closely linked to a lack of trust. When there is trust among people, it is not difficult for them to have debates. 

Think of it as debates and conflicts inside a home. Family members trust each other that is the reason they do not hesitate to participate in passionate debates. They know that their family members don’t have any bad intentions, so they don’t fear having constructive conflicts. 

Not saying that you won’t find any family that has a lack of trust and debates, but most family members trust each other and don’t hesitate to engage in debates.

This is the reason why team members dread meetings because they know the meetings won’t have any constructive debates. Lack of debate makes the meeting boring. It can also create an atmosphere where people become cynical and where politics thrive. Teams which fear conflicts will never talk on a topic which involves a bit of risk or is a little controversial, even if that is critical to their success.

Overcoming this problem 

If you want to have constructive conflicts and healthy debates in your team, your team members must acknowledge the facts that they are important for productivity and success.

If any of your team members believe that conflict is unnecessary or bad, he or she will go at great lengths to avoid conflict. So, the first step is to acknowledge that it’s okay to have conflicts sometimes.

Your team members must have the confidence to initiate a debate on a sensitive topic and to force other members to rectify the problem by working on it. 

Another thing your team members need to do is to teach one another how not to retreat from constructive conflict. You can identify this by knowing when a team member is becoming uncomfortable. When it happens, remind the member to continue the debate because it is necessary to solve the problem and it is a part of the teamwork.

Identifying and overcoming these two dysfunctions can lead your team towards victory. Some members of your team may find it difficult to engage in conflicts due to their nature or psychological conditioning. For instance, people who have abusive childhood go at great lengths to avoid conflicts. In the context of teamwork, it hinders their ability to get close to other team members and establishing firm.

In this case, you can hire a consulting and advisory firm to help you identify dysfunctions and problems within your team.


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