Your most important job as a business leader is to be a morale booster.
Without a happy and productive team, your bottom line will suffer regardless of how many efficiency trainings and cool, new tools you’ve implemented. Your people are your number one.
A great litmus test for how your team is doing is the trust fall. You could actually have your people do this oldie-but-goodie training exercise with each other, but my guess is you already know the answer to how it would play out.
Does your team catch each other when stuff hits the fan? Do they pick up the slack for one another when someone is swamped and a deadline is rapidly approaching? Is gossip running rampant and rumors spreading that are hurting feelings and morale?
These are all great questions to think about as you assess whether your business is suffering from a lack of trust.
If you aren’t sure how your team would do with a real-life trust fall, here are three indicators that your organization’s performance is suffering because of a lack of trust.
Team Members Don’t Ask For Help
Asking for help takes a certain degree of vulnerability. If your team thinks they’ll be criticized for asking for help, they’ll likely avoid it and try to find what they need elsewhere. This is not the type of company culture you want to instill. Not asking for help when they need it costs the company time, money and brings down morale.
People naturally try to conceal their weaknesses. It’s up to you as the business leader to breakdown the walls and be vulnerable with your team. Doing so not only sets an example, but also a precedent to follow.
Teamwork is Forced
It’s pretty clear when people don’t want to spend time with each other. Perhaps they’re short with their words, jump to conclusions about others’ intentions and abilities, or just won’t open up. Whether you’ve seen or heard about it, this dysfunctional culture can be detrimental to your company culture and productivity.
As a leader, it’s up to you to confront these situations with the people who are involved, one-on-one. Get their perspective on the situation and once you’ve met with everyone, compile everyone’s perspectives and work to create a solution. Team members should feel comfortable to share their ideas and ask questions. Without that, your business is in trouble.
Talk is People-Centered
If you notice (or hear) team members speaking more about other people on the team than meaningful topics, there needs to be a change. It’s crucial to keep an ear to the ground when you hear conversations about other coworkers. Gossip and the rumor mill are toxic to work environments. Purge it like the plague, because it will take down your business faster than a PR crisis.
Once you understand these unhealthy conversations are happening, you can approach the people in private and discuss the impact their words are having on others and the organization as a whole. If they have a hard time coming up with topics to discuss with coworkers, give them some ideas. While it may feel awkward, your team and your business need a solid direction away from this toxic issue.
There are many strategic steps you can take to cultivate a trusting work environment among your team. The Grossman Group published six helpful steps to build trust among your team. Starting with yourself is always the best practice as a business leader.
Need help establishing trust within your business? We have programs designed to help. At Mac6, we help teams of all sizes scale with both coworking and co-manufacturing spaces and tools your team could benefit from. Contact us to learn more!