What’s love got to do with team performance?

Posted on Posted in well-being

Hint: it lies at the bottom of Lencioni’s pyramid…and it’s called TRUST. A sneak peek into Plutcnik’s Wheel of Emotions shows trust as one of the fundamental 8 human emotions. So much for “the rational” beings we’re supposed to be…

The working definition on trust: the positive emotion that makes people confidently rely on the integrity or ability of people and organisations (not that it’s required, its simply helps!). With nuances ranging from admiration to merely acceptance, this emotion’s role is to create degrees of comfort in playing our roles in the social web because because although we humans need need some specific cognitive abilities to get possible our trust relationships, the emotional part of it makes the difference in the ultimate benefit from it.

The most primary human needs –affectivity, help, support, company and security– can be seen as the primary urges towards sociality, and therefore, as prompting the need for trust. In interactions with people, trust appears subconsciously – the mind evaluates their benevolent intentions, expectations and hopes, the value and cost of benefits…all of which happens in the lymbic system in the same group of nuclei where many emotions, including distrust, fear, goodwill and trust compete.

Some stuff that goes on between people normally happens subconsciously but in the end, like all other evolutionary emotions, it’s up to you to fight the negative ones if you want to spend more time in the bright spectrum!

The point of this article hoovers around the fact that, like any other emotion, trust is something you control (it’s a subjective thing so in all fairness, you can’t say “that person cannot be trusted”, you can only say “I don’t trust that person right now”) – so how about some ideas about how you can set yourself up for more of this wonderful, positive emotion?

  1. trust follows an extensive and subjective evaluation of the trustee’s goodwill and motivations as well as the comparative benefits of trusting…in other words, if you set yourself to believe that people want to hurt you or that it’s not worth trusting them, well, guess what? This kind of thinking is not the gateway to trust…it’s the same as for every other emotion, it follows your thinking pattern
  2. a sense of gratitude towards the trustee helps build this emotion…so how about continuously counting your blessings from everyone around you?
  3. the fairness of a trustee during conflict builds trust…so if you need/want to continue experiencing this comforting trust emotion, you need to call out people around you whenever you perceive them to be unfair, giving them a fair chance to make amends.
  4. trust is occasionally triggered through sympathy for the concerns of a trusted person; empathy and trust enable people to act as agents for each other (each person “knows” the response of the other to situations). When lacking empathy, a person may feel she does not “know” the other person at all, making trust impossible…so do train your empathy! Yes, it’s a skill, hence, trainable.
  5. familiarity is often a basis of trust, getting to know people you ant to stay in relationships with is a key ingredient of building trust (yes, those good ol’ teambuildings have a business case in this scientifically demonstrated truth!)
  6. if a person has been shamed and his pride offended by another, distrust is more likely; people self-construct these social emotions (you cannot “shame” someone or “hurt” their pride, they choose to think in ways that enable these emotions) but still, if you’re in the presence of excessively sensitive people and you want to conserve their ability to trust you, perhaps it’s worth the effort of applying extra-care with their sensitivities? 
  7. the trust emotion and even social mores are subconsciously perceived by the trusted person – when people are trusted, they feel under an obligation to deliver on that expectation (mirror neurons sense the social expectation of a particular way of doing a task and will act to produce the desired result)…and viceversa :). So it you believe you can afford to distrust people around you and expect them to experience trust towards you, please think again!
  8. you can help generate trust by personal integrity, the ability to consistently deliver on promises, transparency in interactions, nonverbal commitment to commonly shared social and ethical mores, always respecting confidences, refraining from badmouthing, accumulated gratitude/positive emotions, consistent commitment to actions which are fair, goodwill expressed in numerous courteous acts, greed and authority suspends common sense (increasing trust)
  9. team trust is built by committing to a commonly identified goal – a commitment that is subconsciously conveyed by the individual priorities of team leaders; this mechanism makes team objectives more important than demonstrations of personal loyalty, people see their individual failures to be failures of their own leadership and seek to rectify the failure