“I wish I trusted my team less,” said no one ever. Deep down, we all know that trust between members of a team is a good thing. We all have at least a vague idea of the benefits that come from trusting the people you work with. Personally, I’ve worked on teams where trust is often in short supply, and I’ve also worked on teams that have a strong culture of trust. As you might guess, I vastly prefer the latter. Trust makes for an all-around better work environment, and if that wasn’t enough, it also enables us to deliver higher-quality products to our fans faster! You may have heard of “moving at the speed of trust,” but how does trust lead to faster delivery? That’s what I’d like to talk about.
Investing in Trust
First, let me start by saying trust is not like a Boolean value. It’s not `teamHasTrust = true` or `teamHasTrust = false`—rather, it’s a spectrum. Even if you think you already have a good deal of trust between the members of your team, there’s always room for improvement. Regardless of where you’re starting from, investing time and energy into increasing trust will produce many positive benefits.
Trust and the benefits that come with it can seem hard to quantify, so let me try to bring this down to earth by sharing some of the ways that I see trust at work in the interactions on my team. When I trust my teammates, I feel more comfortable sharing my ideas, it’s easier for me to admit my mistakes, and I can assume my teammates have the best intentions, even when I don’t understand what they’re doing. We can have healthy conflict, and I don’t feel micromanaged or feel the need to micromanage others. Trust creates a safe space for honest communication.
When trust and communication flow freely, teams collectively come up with better ideas, prevent more bugs, and waste less time building the wrong product. All of this adds up to the increase in speed I mentioned earlier—trust helps teams deliver better products, faster.
Great. So we know we want more trust on our teams. But how do we build this trust? I’m glad you asked. There are endless ways to do it, but I’ll share practical ways I’ve seen it done here at Ramsey Solutions.
Communication. Communication. Communication.
One excellent way to build trust is through communication. When you communicate to others what you’re working on, what your objectives are, and how it all relates to their work and objectives, this builds trust. My team has daily standup meetings where this type of communication happens, but we also try to continue the communication throughout the day.
Not only is this type of communication important between members of a team, but it’s also immensely valuable between teams in an organization. Once a week at Ramsey, we have a company-wide staff meeting where everyone is updated on goals, successes and learnings from teams throughout the organization. It truly is an investment, but the payoff is worth it—these meetings build trust, prevent silos, promote the sharing of information and resources, and create a strong culture.
Culture and Values
Speaking of a strong culture . . . Culture is another great way of building trust! When you’re part of a culture that sets clear expectations and defines shared values, it creates a foundation of trust between team members. When I get the opportunity to partner with someone on another team that I’ve never worked with before, we already have a head start in the area of trust because of our shared culture—we both know we’re fighting for the same cause.
Values are an important part of any culture, and at Ramsey, we’ve laid out 14 values that describe who we are and how we make decisions. But it’s not enough to simply create a list of values—you have to talk about them, provide context on how they came to be values, and implement them in practical, day-to-day ways.
The third way I’d like to share for building trust is simply to be personable—be human. I think this is especially a challenge in very corporate environments, but there is something very powerful about being yourself and getting to know who your teammates are on a personal level. When you know where someone is coming from, it is easier to understand and trust them, even if you don’t always agree (and let’s be real, no two people agree all the time).
If you’re looking for ways to get to know your teammates better, it can be as simple as going out to lunch together from time to time. One way I got to know other members of the Ramsey technology team was by participating in group lunches of three or four people that would meet once a month. Doing this helped me create connections across the company and feel more comfortable reaching out beyond the scope of my immediate team when needed.
Hopefully reading this has served to remind you of the importance of trust and given you some ideas for how you can continue to build it up on your team. Trust is an investment that pays off. A team that trusts each other moves faster, builds better products, and has fun doing it.
Are you looking for work that matters? Our Technology Teams are growing, and you can view open positions here. Not ready to apply, but interested in chatting with a team member informally to learn more? Request a virtual meeting here.