Week 4 Learning Team Assignment Part A: Trust and Interpersonal Relationships
Team trust is “the belief that an individual or group (a) makes good-faith efforts to behave in accordance with any commitments both explicit and implicit, (b) is honest in whatever negotiations preceded such commitment, and (c) does not take excessive advantage of another even when the opportunity is available” (Cummings & Bromley, 1996, p. 303). Trust is an integral part of a team’s success. We will discuss the assumption of truth within a team, analyze the implications of assuming trust on team performance, and discuss ways how trust can be kept and lost when working in teams.
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Lack of trust restricts communication between team members and leads to conflict over misunderstandings. Performance is based on interactions between members; therefore lack of trust impacts performance, which limits communication. In performance-based organizations trust can be the critical factor that leads to team success. According to the Journal of Applied Psychology, groups who demonstrate low levels of trust performed less effectively in creative problem solving and acted defensively toward each other. Defensiveness has shown to lead to decreases in problem solving (Meadow, Reese & Parnes 1959).
Ways Trust is Lost When Working in Teams
Not Doing Your Part – Unresponsiveness or failure to meet obligations are two elements that lead to distrust. A team member who fails to complete the respective task puts additional stress on members and will lead to team failure. Studies have revealed a strong relationship between trust and the degree of performance level among team members (Dirks & Ferrin, 2001, pp 450-451).
Withholding Information – By withholding information, that individual is knowingly working against the goals of the team. “In the workplace, keeping information to yourself that others have a need or a right to know is not appropriate. (Obviously an exception would be if the information needs to be held in strict confidence.) In most cases, if you are working on a project with another person or an entire team, giving regular updates is paramount--whether that is your natural inclination to do so or not” (McRae 2006).
Not Performing to Standards – “Teams need to have a clear understanding of where they want to end up and then make choices along the way to find the most efficient way to reach their goals” (Zigon, 1997). If a team member does not perform to the standards set forth, it puts the entire team at risk for failure. Trust, in turn, is lost between the team and that particular member.
Ways to Keep Trust Among Team Members
Participation – Trust among team members is achieved by participating actively in group activities. Interaction provides the chance to learn each other’s strengths and weaknesses. According to Robert Jr., Dennis, and Hung (2009), “individuals develop trust gradually over time based on positive outcomes of repeated behavior” (p. 6, 82, 94).
Communication – Establish an environment, which makes it easy for others to express themselves. Each member has distinguished backgrounds, whose opinions, attitudes, personalities, point of views and work ethics differ. Not everyone is born with good communication skills. However, if you talk about issues openly and ask for others for their thoughts/opinions then you will have good communication. Glaser (2006) stated, “It is about heart, soul, and spirit power, which are released by creating healthy environments, and healthy environments are determined by the type of leadership genes expressed.” (pp. 1-10, 10p).