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Trust and its Impact on Team Performance

Watch our video on this topic here – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ulCCgzchlN0

 

Trust underpins success – reward schemes give rise to selfishness and erode trust

Over the next decade, it is forecasted that 45% of all jobs in the Australian economy, will be digitised and or automated. In the next decade most industries will face its “Uber”.

The decisions of leaders are going to be under increased levels of pressure to meet short term performance goals, whilst supporting strategies that seek to keep the business agile, accurate and responsive.

Performance measures and targets combined with reward and recognition schemes, are commonly utilised by leadership teams with the aim of motivating team members to meet and hopefully exceed performance expectations.

When we analyse the underpinning factors for people achieving, or not achieving their performance goals we often uncover issues about trust. How trust worthy a leader is perceived has a high degree of influence over the decisions individuals make. And the decisions individuals make determines how well they perform.

Professor David DeSteno in his recent work around the science of trust, explains that trust is formed between people as a basic requirement to get a task done. Trust is formed when any one individual recognises their inability to complete the task alone. Furthermore as individuals become more resource rich, they have reduced need to rely on others. Interestingly, it has been found in all walks of life, the more self-sufficient people are, the more selfish they become, and as a result they act in a less trust worthy manner. Furthermore, DeSteno found that untrustworthy behaviour is most pronounced when people stand to gain more money for their effort.

This is relevant to workplaces that seek to increase productivity and results through incentivising individual effort. The more self sufficient teams are the less likely they are to collaborate with their colleagues, and the more likely they are to act in isolation and create silos.

These discoveries are important for business leaders to reflect on when thinking about how they structure their businesses, define performance measures, targets and budgets. Leaders who see the value of these discoveries in human behaviour will have to challenge, review and change their habitual responses to reward and recognition schemes that by design, subconsciously drive individuals to act selfishly.

The business environments we work in require increased levels of agility from our people and the systems and processes they utilise. Businesses now more than ever, will need to be internally collaborative, have high degrees of resilience, willing to share information, expertise and resources among each other in order to adapt and respond to customers and competition like the Uber’s of tomorrow.

At the heart of this collaboration is the willingness of leaders and team members to behaviour with greater levels of trust.

Trust is fostered when leaders rely less on hierarchical control, allow for local decision making, create the need for interdependencies and most importantly increase individual resilience by supporting team members to believe in their own capability.

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