I have three windows in my office: one looking out to the parking lot, one looking into the office next to mine, and one on my door. Being an introvert, I have a tendency to stay in my office looking at the world through those windows, unless duties force me into interaction with the world outside.
Unlike my extroverted co-workers, this behavior keeps me isolated from others. Remaining isolated is counterproductive to building relationships and relationships are the cornerstones of establishing trust in a team.
Building relationships is integral to building trust—it’s difficult to trust what you do not know. Trust is also foundational for the performance of any team. Without it, your team will lack commitment to one another and will have little peer accountability. With it, your team will learn to navigate disagreements, communicate better, and produce desired results more efficiently. The deeper the relationship you have with your teammates, the greater the degree of trust. With greater trust comes a greater willingness to seek understanding when you or another team member inevitably messes up. Trust takes a long time to be built, but only a short time to be torn down.
Sitting safely inside my office with windows between me and the rest of the world keeps me from knowing those outside and it keeps others from knowing me. Trust cannot be built in a vacuum; a vacuum is created within a team when interaction is lacking. I have come to realize it’s time to open the windows and allow the outside world to enter; it’s time to invite my team to know me and challenge myself to know them. I invite you to do the same.
A few years ago, I came across a tool called The Johari Window; it was developed by psychologists Joseph Luft and Harrington Ingham. Their idea centered on becoming more self-aware and building relationships through the use of descriptors. This is done by choosing a set of adjectives to describe yourself and then asking other members of your team to do the same. The results provide insight into areas of commonality and divergence between your own self-reflection and your team’s perception. Use these insights to engage your team. Ask for feedback on unexpected adjectives and use this opportunity to share with your teammates things about yourself they did not know.
To try this tool for yourself click HERE.
Whether you use The Johari Window or not, great benefits can be reaped by your team when team relationships deepen. You can be the initiator by opening up about yourself and encouraging openness within your team. You may decide to forego The Johari Window and opt for a less formal approach. A simplified way to discover more about each member of your team and how you see one another is to ask each person on the team to assign five adjectives apiece to themselves and each team member. Then come together for an informal time of sharing, possibly over lunch. Doing this will contribute tremendously to the never-ending process of building trust.
Join me this week and let’s open our windows and interact with the world outside!