How Trust Strengthens Performance Culture

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The vice president of a professional service company has been inundated with complaints from his project managers about getting engineers to work on projects. The complaint is that the engineering department has been tardy in assigning resources, causing delays in kicking off projects in a timely manner. Often, the assigned people need to be substituted with junior staff half-way through the project. This has created animosity between departments.

This is the culprit. When project managers request for engineering resources, they tend to put in a longer than necessary timeframe. As a result, the assigned engineer ends up idling because there mismatch with work coordination. Over time, the engineering department begins to assign staff over multiple projects. This turns into a vicious cycle.

The lack of trust between the two departments has led to poor practices that cause havoc. Without trust, individuals play defensively. They do what they feel would serve them best at the expense of others.

On the contrary, trust ameliorates conflicts and fosters collaboration.

Trust ameliorates conflicts and fosters collaboration Share on X

First, people feel at ease in opening up when there is trust. It takes courage to ask for help and admit one’s mistakes. Without the fear that the information would be used against them, individuals are forthcoming about a situation.

Second, people are more willing to share knowledge. When employees trust the people they work with, there is no holding back. They take pride in sharing their expertise, being able to help others and contribute.

Third, people collaborate readily. The trusting mindset spurs spontaneous cooperation. There is little concern about who gets the credit. People care about collective success. They are open to working with whoever necessary to make things happen.

Fourth, people challenge each other to higher performance. Feeling at ease with frank dialogues and objective critiques, people don’t hesitate to challenge ideas. This puts them in an active frame of mind to find better solutions and deliver better results.

Fifth, people respect each other. The collegial relationships among team members built on trust generate a reliance on each other. They demonstrate respect despite disagreement. They focus on objective results that matter.

Trust is the foundation for working together as a team. Trust among peers, subordinates and superiors foster a strong culture for overcoming difficulties together as a single unit. The camaraderie minimizes unnecessary politics and shifts focus to high performance.

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