I don’t mean type it into their browser (that will get you over 77 million results). I mean ask them about the research they did on how teams can be made more effective.

As a Certified Team Performance Coach, I am passionate about finding out what makes great teams tick. If you look at the roster of most teams at a successful organization, it frequently looks like a dream team of experts and hard workers. On paper, they are invincible. In reality, they have the consistency and impact of a soup sandwich.

What is the most important element? Trust.

In a team with high psychological safety, teammates feel safe to take risks around their team members. They feel confident that no one on the team will embarrass or punish anyone else for admitting a mistake, asking a question, or offering a new idea. In other words, great teams thrive on trust.

My fellow coaches with Team Coaching International and I have conducted over 20,000 team performance diagnostics at over 4000 organizations over the past 20 years. Of the 14 Team Performance Indicators that predict team performance and results, trust is the most common element that is lacking. This lack of trust actually increases as the level of expertise and achievement of the team members goes up.

You can only ignore team dysfunction for so long. Eventually, it will be the primary cause of why both your winning percentage and profitability decreases. Great teams are a force multiplier, but only if they operate as a system based on common values.

The most important value is trust. If talent is high, but trust is in short supply, think about trying the following:

  1. Conduct a team diagnostic assessment to determine the perceived level of trust between team members.
  2. Identify factions and tribes that may be building silos within your team and integrate them.
  3. Politely ask members to leave the team if their only role is to create strength in numbers to back a position or support their tribe’s interests.
  4. Coach the team as a system instead of a few problem members or superstars.

Trust takes time. There are no shortcuts. Start now.