Team Trust is Like a Three Legged Stool

TRUST STOOL 3 LEGSIn virtually every aspect of your life, you can find examples of the importance of teamwork.

But teamwork is built on team trust, and that trust is supported and established like the seat of a three legged stool – by three important supporting elements.

The absence or weakness of any of the legs on a stool would cause the stool to fall – or at the least provide a much less comfortable and solid foundation for the seat. The three legged stool metaphor is similar to team trust resting on separate but equally important “legs.”

And whether you acknowledge it or not, most every interaction you have is an invitation to participate in good or bad teamwork.

As an independent salesman, you are either successful in becoming a team with your prospect and assisting him with a solution to his problem, or you become an example of the failed teamwork that suffers from selfishness, incompetence, or poor communication.

As a manager, principal, or coach, you are responsible for developing productive teamwork amongst those in your department – and your experience of getting success or getting conflicts or excuses is often the result of good or poor trust amongst your people.

Building trust into your relationships, whether in a one on one setting or amongst a group is always first and foremost based upon the trust your words and behaviors inspire.

And for managers, salesmen, coaches, or anyone else who desires to enjoy the benefits of successful teamwork, there are three elements to building the trust that you desire.

You may hear some people suggest that trust requires months or years to establish – and while time may help to cement or solidify your standing in the relationship, trust does not take months or even weeks to build.

Building individual or team trust requires the demonstration of three important things:

1. Competence in Job

Obviously, to be trusted as a mechanic, you must be able to fix cars. If you are a basketball player, you must be able to perform the skill you were recruited for. Trust begins by recognizing or demonstrating that you are good at what you are being asked to do.

2. Concern for Others 

The second leg of the stool is your concern for other’s well-being. If you are talented, but only interested in your own success or advancement, that selfishness or lack of thinking about what is best for your teammates will sabotage the trust you desire to establish. Are you in it just to benefit yourself, or do you truly have other people’s interests in mind?

3. Kept Commitments

The third and last leg required for building team or individual trust is your ability to keep the promises you make. Some promises can be made and kept in a matter of minutes, while others may take years to fulfill. But creating trust demands that you do what you say you will do without excuse – and that will create an incremental confidence in you from the person or people who you keep commitments for.

Once your prospect or partner, or teammates, or employees or group sees each part of this three legged stool, they will happily rest easy and give you their trust.

Trust is something, once earned, to be valued highly. If it is ever lost it may be difficult to rebuild… once the vase is shattered, no amount of glue will make it exactly as it was.

Similarly, a stool whose leg gets broken will seldom provide as strong or comfortable a seat.

For different team personality types, this may be communicated or shown in different ways.

But if you demonstrate to the people you care about that you are competent, that you are concerned about their success, and you are someone who keeps his commitments, you will soon establish the trust you desire to build.

Take a look at Sean’s Team Trust Survey Activity to evaluate how others perceive you…

If you are interested in a business team building event or custom workshop to build team trust, morale, or communication skills, contact Sean to discuss how an event can improve your organization!