The First Thing To Build: Trust on Agile Teams

Diana Larsen, FutureWorks Consulting

Trust is the bedrock of self-organizing agile teams. Trust allows agile teams to communicate quickly and respond rapidly to changes as they emerge. Without sufficient trust, team members can waste effort and energy hoarding information, forming cliques, dodging blame, and covering their tracks. A climate of trust provides the foundation for effective team processes, adaptability, and high performance. How can we help this essential trust to emerge and shatter the deep-seated cycle of distrust in many organizations? By paying attention to membership, interactions, credibility, respect, and behaviors, team leaders can both stimulate and accelerate trustworthiness and the resulting trust that is essential among team members and between the team and its stakeholders. Diana Larsen describes ways to accelerate trust-building within your team, including a working definition of professional trust, a model for team interactions that leverages trust, ways to recognize when a team has "trust issues," and skills that help teams develop greater trust.

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