I’ve led and attended many internal team meetings and interactions gone negative. Sarcastic comments, eye rolls, yelling… lots of anger and frustration that can put up walls. But if we treated team members like clients, would these interactions be just as negative? Very unlikely. Building trust and working well together is so essential in selling.
I know this because I was one of those people years ago. This changed when I received coaching and the idea of treating internal coworkers like a client came up. The moment I started treating my peers and direct reports with more respect, a monumental shift in my management style emerged. Then I was able to start building trust with my team members.
In Patrick Lencioni’s book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team: A Leadership Fable
, he says that teamwork begins by building trust and that the ultimate test of a great team is results. He said, “Trust is knowing that when a team member does push you, they’re doing it because they care about the team.”
By treating your internal team members like you would a client, you’ll get much better collaboration and results. Once I changed my mindset, I got better performance from each person and improved outcomes from group effort. And there was a greater trust and understanding in how to work together.
Gaining trust can start simply by getting to know the people on your team—anything about their personal and professional lives. Are they married? Have kids? Where did they go to school? Where did they grow up? What was it like working for their previous employer? Where did they go on their last vacation?
Building trust from there comes from time and practice. Patrick Lencioni also said that “Great teams do not hold back with one another. They are unafraid to air their dirty laundry. They admit their mistakes, their weaknesses, and their concerns without fear of reprisal.” He went on to say that when people feel like they can’t express themselves, and don’t feel like they’ve been listened to, then they won’t really get on board.
This makes trust the cornerstone of the team. Treat each other like a client first to get into the mindset of respect for one another. Get to know each other, and build trust by making your team a safe place to express ideas without fear. You’ll start seeing the results.
Janice Mars, principal and founder of SalesLatitude, is a senior business and sales executive with more 30 years of experience helping companies build successful sales teams. She has parlayed that experience to help her clients to improve their sales processes, accurately forecast revenues, ensure focus on winnable opportunities, and attain consistent results.
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