The Trust Tango
Team trust emerges and endures through consistent, reciprocal actions - like dance partners performing the tango.
WRITTEN BY: ADAM DANYAL
Building trust on a team is a delicate dance. Like a tango, both partners must move together, responding and reacting to each other’s rhythm and cadence. One wrong step can throw off the flow and spoil the chemistry.
On a team, trust emerges from small, repetitive actions. Teammates earn trust by consistently doing what they say they will do. They respond to requests on time. They deliver quality work by the deadline. They give credit to others. They apologize for mistakes. They offer support without being asked. Over time, these small acts of integrity create bonds of trust.
Just as it takes two to tango, trust requires reciprocity. Leaders build trust by trusting team members first. They share confidential information, delegate meaty assignments, and give autonomy to make decisions. Teammates reciprocate by proving themselves trustworthy of greater responsibilities. Like dance partners, both give and take.
When trust breaks down, the dance falls apart. Without trust fueling teamwork, performance suffers. Like a tangled tango, teammates trip over each other. They resist collaboration, hide mistakes, and avoid hard conversations. Distrust breeds dysfunction.
To rebuild broken trust, both parties must recommit to the dance. Leaders demonstrate trust first through actions, not just words. They reaffirm their faith in teammates’ abilities and character. They restore autonomy and demonstrate care. Teammates reciprocate by taking ownership of past breaches. They improve communication and engage sincerely.
Trust repairs itself through repetition of the small steps that built it originally. By dancing together again – communicating openly, fulfilling promises, showing loyalty – teammates rediscover their rhythm. Consistency creates confidence, the melody that makes the trust tango so fluid.
With patience and daily effort, trust rekindles its former flame. Teammates once again twirl together artfully like dance partners, anticipating each other’s needs and complementary in their steps. The music of trust fills the air again, signaling a graceful team tango is once more in motion.
From our Leadership Bookshelf:
WRITTEN BY: JULIA DANYAL
Trust is the foundation for teamwork, according to Stephen M.R. Covey in “The Speed of Trust”. When trust is strong, teams can collaborate seamlessly. But when trust breaks down, progress grinds to a halt.
Here are the key takeaways from Covey:
Trust is the foundation of effective leadership. Leaders who establish trust inspire engagement and loyalty from their teams. When trust is low, collaboration suffers.
Trust begins within. To build trust with others, leaders must demonstrate personal credibility built on integrity, intent, capabilities, and results. Self-trust provides confidence to extend trust to others.
Trust accelerates progress. High-trust teams can achieve goals faster through open communication, constructive conflict, commitment, and mutual accountability. With trust, there is no need to second-guess motives.
Broken trust can be repaired through consistent repetition of trust-building behaviors. Apologize for breaches, then demonstrate care, competence and character through small, reciprocal actions over time.