Trust creates the foundation for strong relationships and effective teamwork. Healthcare leaders cannot expect trust within their teams without honesty, transparency and empathy. The trust-building process requires leaders to consistently align their behavior with their expectations, which influences team dynamics. Healthcare is relationship-based work, and devoting energy to strengthening relationships creates a culture of trust that allows teams to work in unison to deliver the best possible outcomes for patients.
Strong leaders demonstrate vulnerability while guiding their team by asking questions and admitting when they are wrong. In doing so, they convey respect and earn trust by demonstrating that everyone can learn from one another, and that they don’t know everything when entering a new situation. Expressing vulnerability creates an environment in which it is safe to fail, and staff feel comfortable asking for and giving support. Being authentic and vulnerable establishes a sense of security and paves the way for effective risk-taking and the expression of valuable, diverse perspectives. The most promising solutions often stem from team members incorporating, challenging and expanding on one another’s ideas in a productive way.
Open and honest communication creates understanding and empathy, which are essential elements of trust. Transparency is key. Leaders should be transparent in their words and deeds in every interaction. They should be clear when conversations require confidentiality and when they don’t have the answers. This helps leaders remain in tune with team members’ needs, which is especially important when there is conflict or differences that make trust more difficult. Recognizing common ground and acknowledging that the team is working toward the same goal without ignoring differences in approaches and opinions helps build trust.
Repairing broken trust
When trust has been violated, leaders need to be the ones to address the issue and initiate the process of rebuilding it. Especially during a period of heightened emotions and needs due to the pandemic, working at relationships and putting in effort to overcome issues is essential. Working through these situations requires open communication and effort from both parties involved. Showing vulnerability is often necessary because each side must acknowledge their own faults and recognize where they can improve.
Without trust, team members are more guarded and less likely to share their ideas. They will feel less committed to their team and the organization as a whole. Healthcare leaders must give trust in order to receive it back. This process starts at an individual level before filtering through the organization as a whole. Establishing trust with each team member takes time and requires meaningful, consistent dialogue.
The actions of leaders are reflected in the work culture and behavior of other team members. Honesty and understanding allow teams the security of a trusting environment necessary to perform their best.
For a candid discussion of building trust within your teams and the benefits of transparent communication, listen to season 2 episode 2 of “Outiside the Patient’s Door,”
available on Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts and Spotify. Want to learn more about Medxcel? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org