Healthy Teams Require Solid Leadership and Trust

Every organization has teams. How well they function has a lot to do with team leadership, organizational culture and trust. Cultivating healthy teams is not just a nice thing to do, it has a profound impact on each individual, teams as a whole and their ability to achieve goals and deliver better results.

In another post we shared that the Worldview Intelligence High-Performance Teams Model has three aspects that need to be tended to for healthy teams: Work, Relationship and Learning. Our friend and colleague, Deana DeFoe commented from her experience with it, “This model addresses the emotional well-being of team members. They are engaged, energized and, well…. all I can think to say is happy.”

Team members working to their strengths

We didn’t explicitly mention leadership or trust in that post, but in any team there are at least two forms of leadership. One is a leader the team reports to and the other is leadership within the team. Trust is the glue that holds the team together through challenging moments and fuels the moments of creativity and innovation. It is a direct result of building relationship.

Healthy teams manage themselves and hold each other accountable to the team. They work with principles of shared responsibility and shared leadership. Leadership rotates according to who is responsible for, or has expertise regarding, any given aspect of the work.

What can leaders do to foster, support and nurture trust, relationship and healthy teams? Ensure the team has all it needs to function well. This includes:

  1. Provide just enough guidance and information to the team so members are clear on their roles, tasks and outcomes and not so much that it impedes the team’s ability to engage in their own decision-making and priority setting. Neuroscience research tells us that our brains respond positively to autonomy and choice so finding the right balance is essential for healthy team performance.
  2. Be a champion of and for the team. This might mean providing high-level cover for the team so that others in the organization do not put road blocks in the way of the team’s ability to do its work. This could include other leaders, directors or managers in the organization.
  3. Ensure the team has all the resources it needs to do its work. This includes budget, materials, human resources. It could mean making connections and introductions as needed.
  4. Be available to team members when they do need support, guidance or clarity on any aspect of their work. Or when they are requesting learning opportunities.
  5. Recognize and acknowledge the team and its members for their successes, achievements and accomplishments. Feeling recognized and respected is rewarding to our brains and this in turn puts our brains in a better place for thinking, anticipating, learning and trusting. People prefer to have their achievements validated, recognized and valued by others over solitary recognition (even when they claim otherwise). Be sure to take time to celebrate with the team.
  6. Get out of the way and let the team do its work.

The right leadership in the right moment requires awareness, trust and paying attention to the factors that support healthy teams. Worldview Intelligence has created a range of resources to support leaders and teams.