If we ask the question
"What must a team have to perform well?"
I'm going to suggest that "Trust" will appear fairly high up the list.
We need also to incorporate "Optimism"-that the Team's purpose is a good one and that it honours
Our individual values
And we need to know that we're doing the right things for the right reasons.
Unfortunately, trust and optimism are easily manipulated to serve individual needs and ambitions. There are after all ample opportunities for some to pay lip service only to the idea of serving core values. Some organisations have set out to define what it is they mean by trust and integrity and their importance in shaping the expectations and experiences of their partners and stakeholders.
However, the building and maintenance of high quality internal trust is much harder than presenting positive external messages. The impact of hidden untrustworthiness on teams is destructive and will progressively annihilate purposeful alignments made by other team members. The manipulation or abandonment of trust reduces the chances of group success. The focus shifts to looking for what's not working rather than what is and members are vulnerable to becoming risk averse rather than risk aware as there is a reduction in their faith in others to support them when the going gets tough. Teams form within teams, individuals consider "What's in this for me?" rather than "How does this serve our group?" When this is the emergent case, expect the group/team purpose, to lose energy and to toxify: it's a great way of developing an
"Optimism Free Zone"
(Oh yes, I'd love to work in one of those!)
Maybe you could propose to teams that they might want to consider something along the lines of:
"It is agreed that trust and integrity are essential components of a healthy, well-functioning team. How do we honour our commitment to trust? How will we talk about it and how will we challenge ourselves and each other when we feel trust has been compromised?"
Expect some interesting and thought provoking responses!