Our new five-part blog series kicks off this week and is dedicated to "The Power of Relationships!" Cultivating and maintaining strong relationships with various stakeholders is key to navigating change, crisis, and transformation. For educators, fostering relationships in which students and colleagues individually feel valued and respected is powerful and effective. Nurturing relationships so that become strong is especially important for new teachers as try to earn their colleagues' respect. If there isn’t a welcoming and sincere environment to step into they may worry about stepping on the toes of veteran teachers, as well as put up walls if they can’t recognize they are in safe place to adjust to their new surroundings. Teacher relationships with colleagues are important because they contribute to a positive school climate. Without strong relationships, dysfunction can take root, causing all kinds of unnecessary problems.
What is Dysfunction?
Dysfunction occurs when teams are missing key functional elements, which directly impacts results and productivity within teams. It is essential to understand that research conducted by Patrick M. Lencioni suggests that there are five dysfunctional areas where teams tend to struggle. Click on the link below to watch a short video of Patrick giving a brief introduction to The Five Dysfunctions of a team.
This series will help you reduce misunderstandings and confusion amongst your team and help you identify and develop ideal team players. It will help you clarify messages and boost morale and buy-in with team priorities and your school's community. This series will also look at some key strategies that teams can implement to identify dysfunction and resolve it. Each week this series will look at one of The Five Dysfunctions of a Team by Patrick M. Lencioni. He presents the five dysfunctions like a pyramid where each dysfunction builds on the next. This week will focus on the bottom of the pyramid with the first dysfunction, The Absence of Trust.
Dysfunction #1: The Absence of Trust can destroy productivity!
A culture of mistrust is ushered in when people on your team cannot freely express weaknesses and their vulnerabilities openly. When teams exhibit this behavior, individuals on the team are more likely to become defensive and more resistant to ask for help from others and less likely to offer assistance to colleagues. If trust is absent, your team and your school will struggle because it does not have a solid foundation from which all things can be built. When there is a lack of trust in an organization or a school, teams will miss significant opportunities to cultivate meaningful, effective, and lasting relationships. This could lead to decreased productivity and missed goals. People who do not trust the organization or team members will focus more on underproductive behavior, and they will suppress their true feelings.
Instead of openness and honesty, you will end up politicking. This could lead to people acting on how they think others view them instead of how they genuinely feel, making it difficult for teams to accomplish common goals. This happens because people who do not trust others on the team do not feel comfortable being wrong or are afraid of others questioning their competence. They also are scared to appear inexperienced if they admit that they don't understand or need clarity. When trust is absent, fear of being exposed can set in because people do not believe that others on the team have their best interest at heart.
Why is this important?
The absence of trust can create severe consequences when trust issues are left unresolved. The same mistakes will occur repeatedly. Your team meetings or your students will lose value and meaning. Your team's objectives, or your class objective and student academic achievement will suffer when people stop believing and start thinking that their time is being wasted.
Trust Is A Key to Effective Teams!
On the other hand, when trust exists in organizations from the top down and, the bottom-up members feel safe and are more willing to be vulnerable because they are not afraid of others' judgment. Members on the team feel at ease and are more inclined to admit mistakes when they happen, discuss what is and what isn't working, take risks, and fail. YES, Inc. maintains the core value of failure Leads to Success because we believe strongly and agree that you will learn far more from your failure than you will from your success, and therefore when you embrace your failure you will grow. Failure leads to success. We believe that the freedom to talk about weaknesses openly will lead to increased productivity and growth of all team members when encouraged to embrace failure. Cultivating trust and alignment is why it is vital to over-communicate your team or organization's goals, vision and mission, and core values and ensure that there is a majority buy-in across all stakeholders.
How to build and maintain trust:
School leadership, educators, and teams must be intentional with their words and actions and display authenticity and genuine interest and concern when building and maintaining trust. As well as seek to model what that looks like to others. The following things to help build trust with teams and overcome dysfunction #1 the absence of trust inspired by Patrick Lencioni.
- Share experiences - When people share personal/professional experiences, it will help instill trust. Model expectations and walk the talk!
- Follow through- Do what you say you will do. Be transparent and over-communicate your message clearly.
- Demonstrate credibility- Trust does not happen overnight. It takes time to prove your credibility. Maintain consistency between words and actions to affirm your integrity.
- Develop vital insight into each team member's unique characteristics: It's important to encourage positive relationships and affirm others on the team so that they know that they are valued.
- Maintain openness: Include others in the decision-making process, but ultimately, the leader makes the final decision. Having buy-in from stakeholders will help leaders maintain trust.
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