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Working as a team in a professional space is crucial to sustaining success; disregarding the importance of teamwork may prove detrimental to you and your business.

If your team is not doing its best work, it is critical to examine the levels of these three factors within the team: trust, accountability, and commitment. They are all interrelated and often cyclical, meaning when one deteriorates, it will affect the others. By working to improve these areas, you can create a more positive and productive work environment where team members can do their best work. Here are three key factors in functioning teams.

1. Trust

There are two types of trust. You gain cognitive trust, also known as swift trust (registration required), when you demonstrate that you are reliable, competent, and collaborative. The second type is emotional trust, which is developed over time; ideally, it can develop without being hampered by physical locations/geography.

Trust acts as the foundation of any strong relationship, and it is especially important in the workplace. Team members need to trust each other to collaborate effectively and share information openly. When trust is broken, it damages psychological safety and can lead to suspicion, resentment, and conflict.

2. Accountability

Despite the fact that most people associate this word with blame, accountability merely suggests taking responsibility. Demonstrating accountability might mean telling another person that something hasn’t been done or hasn’t been done accurately. But isn’t this exactly how children learn in school? Or how do you know you need to cut down on your sugar intake after a visit to the doctor?

Although you may hesitate to make waves or recognize an employee’s achievements (or lack thereof), how exactly will your team know if they are excelling at their jobs if they don’t get feedback? Yet, many leaders and colleagues actively avoid holding their team accountable, opting to pick up their slack instead. In my experience, there are several reasons leaders avoid holding their team accountable:

• To avoid conflict

• To “help”

• They think accountability is “mean”

These individuals have the best intentions, including attempting to maintain professional peace in the office. However, they are doing their team a disservice by not providing the necessary feedback for the team to grow. This leads to disengagement, poor performance, and possibly the exit of an employee with good intent and/or good standing in your company.

3. Commitment

Work done by teams propels organizations forward. But the startling fact is that more than half of all teams leave meetings without committing to an agreed-upon decision. Without defined goals and deadlines for the team, members can struggle to find the motivation to work, which affects their performance. Team members need to be committed to the team’s goals and decisions, as well as to each other.

Leaders need not do this on their own. Engage your entire team to:

• Create a culture of trust by being honest and transparent with each other

• Provide regular feedback and peer coaching

• Set clear expectations and goals, with regular status updates

Final Thoughts

Healthy teams are essential for business success. By prioritizing the time, dedication, and attention you give these core values, you can achieve a successful and efficient dream team that gets results.

Want more blogs like this one? Check out our other blogs about dream teams!

Build a Dream Team With Talent Optimization by Wendy Fong

Help Your Team Think Critically by Wendy Fong