Trustworthy Teamwork
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As we are interviewing leaders for the second edition of our book, we are noticing one troubling trend: team members not having each others’ backs.

There are several ways we heard this play out: 1) One leader shared that a previously trusted team member suddenly decided to trust someone else’s word over hers about a team issue without getting her perspective; 2) another leader shared that one of his team members was not sharing leadership, but was taking credit for others’ work; 3) and finally, another leader shared that a leader/mentor ended up not only stealing credit, but ownership for a joint enterprise.

All of these breakdowns in team trust are troubling. When we work with teams, we encourage them to establish team norms, such as sharing leadership, deciding how to resolve conflict, and sharing information.

Much of the team research supports the important role that the leader plays in building strong and trusting teams. If there are problems, the top leader of the organization may not be paying close enough attention to how team members are behaving. In order to build a culture of trust, the leader must enforce a culture of trust. Absentee leadership will not create a positive and lasting culture of trust.