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  • ZISK

Behaviors that Break Team Trust

Maureen Hanson

October 20, 2021

Teamwork – on a dairy or anywhere else – requires trust, so every team member feels valued and compelled to contribute their best effort.

According to leadership expert Stephen Covey, “The best way to build trust in another person is to make a commitment and keep it.”

“Smart Brief on Leadership” author Marlene Chism said the best ways to ruin team trust – and more positive alternatives – are:

Emotional instability – Outbursts, blow-ups, and harsh e-mails undermine credibility and do not inspire others to want to follow you. Chism said when you feel most angry is the time NOT to respond to someone verbally or in writing. “Interpret strong feelings as an indicator that you need time to process the information,” she advised.

Blindsides – Making surprise decisions without laying the proper groundwork can make team members feel betrayed and unsettled. Examples include calling out team members in front of their peers or making sudden position changes with no warning or explanation.

Appeasing – Being a “people pleaser” also is not helpful because it doesn’t address genuine issues. “Check yourself to see if you’re in the habit of being agreeable just to avoid the messiness of conflict,” advised Chism. “Be willing to stay in conversations that are uncomfortable.”

Misalignment – Saying one thing and doing another does not inspire team loyalty. Examples are lack of policy enforcement; inconsistent follow-through; and always changing the rules. “Clearly state priorities, and if they shift, give an explanation,” stated Chism.

In any system and team environment, there are ongoing factors that out of the team’s and leader’s control. But Chism said it’s possible to roll with changes and challenges if leaders routinely exhibit the behaviors and values that encourage and build ongoing trust.


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