Hi. You are listening to The Sales Journey Podcast, episode 228, How to Build trust and Create a Winning Team.
This is Casha, and I am one of the Sales and Leadership Coaches with Emerge Sales Training.
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Happy Saturday everyone, I am happy to be back here with you. Today we are going to be talking about three things you can do as a leader to build trust, and how this impacts your team success.
I’ve been reading Strengths-Based Leadership, and there are four key factors outlined as to why people follow, because as leaders what we’re ultimately looking for is followership.
One of the four qualities outlined, the first is a BIG one, and in my humble opinion is probably the most important, is Trust. The book goes on to quote Warren Buffett and defining what a leader is, “As someone who can get things done through other people.” As I pondered on what to write for this podcast, this quote kept coming up for me, and how it translated or related back to this Trust factor.
Given that we’re talking about strengths, my number one strength is communication. I felt it only appropriate to use an analogy to help further clarify leadership and the trust factor.
The first thing that I could think of was a rowing team. I know I always have crazy analogies, so I hope that you’ll stick with me here, especially given that I don’t know much about the sport, and personally don’t have any experience, except one time in my early 20s when somebody asked me to be a coxswain. I had no clue what a coxswain was. All I knew was that it had something to do with rowing, and that rowing was a team sport.
Of course, for those of you who already know me, it shouldn’t be any surprise to hear me say that I set off in research on rowing teams and how I could draw some parallels to building trust within our teams.
Let’s talk about the team first. When you watch a rowing team, they’re in total unison. Their limbs, bodies, and blades, seemingly moving with clockwork efficiency, all working collectively together towards a common goal…the finish line. Everyone on the team plays a different role and brings a different skillset to the table, which all work together to make the team stronger.
As I did some further research, something stood out to me, the little one in front, the coxswain. The coxswain sits at the front of the boat and is the only one facing forward. Ironically, while they might be the smallest one on board, they probably serve the most crucial role out of everyone.
You see, the coxswain is the one in charge of the boat. It actually means boat servant. They’re responsible for knowing proper rowing technique and running drills to improve performance, in addition to being tasked with the direction, speed, and motivating the team to get to the finish line as quickly as possible.
They’re fully engaged in the way the boat feels. What’s working? What needs to be changed? Who needs to adjust and how?
Success depends not only on the physical and mental strength of the rowers and their ability to respond to their environment and instruction but in the way the coxswain provides instruction and encourages the rowers.
Great coxswains are part visionary, part strategist, part coach, and part cheerleader.
They’re just like Warren Buffett put it, they are someone who can get things done through other people.
I couldn’t help but think how similar our role as leaders is to that of a coxswain. In order for our teams to be successful we have to provide clear and specific instruction; run drills and practice, so that everyone on the team is on their A game; be in tune to what direction our team is headed; keeping track of the pace, responding to what’s working, and what needs to be changed and how; and continuing to cheer people on until they reach the finish line.
In my continued research of this small but mighty role, the trust factor kept coming up.
Katelin Snyder, a coxswain for team USA W8 2016, stated, “Here I am sitting in the boat. I’m not really doing anything to help the boat go fast, but everybody is supposed to listen to me, and they’re supposed to go harder when I say go harder. It has to be a blind trust. If one person questions me or doesn’t believe what I’m saying, it just doesn’t work. Or if the eight people on my team don’t buy in 100%, it will still be fast, but it won’t be magnificent.”
In my limited research about this crucial role, the coxswain, here are three things I’ve identified that you can do as your team’s coxswain to start building trust and moving your team toward the finish line.
#1: Know Where You’re Going.
Quoting another coxswain during my research, who was unnamed, they stated, “I think this always bears repeating, and it is certainly something that my coached harped on many times. You can’t let your emotions or competitive spirit get in the way of your main priority. Steering takes up most of your focus. Really, the best thing you can do is give them the shortest course, which occurs when you steer them straight.”
What does this mean for us as leaders? This means getting clear on what success looks like. Not just for you or individuals, but your entire team. As leaders, we have to know what we’re aiming for or where we’re going before we can get there, so we can create an action plan and provide instruction on how to get there.
Without a clear end in sight, would be like getting into the boat without a finish line. Without a clear vision as leaders, we will lack the ability to steer our team in the right direction. Having a clear vision plays a vital role in helping you build trust with your team. It’s highly unlikely that without a destination and plan on how to get there, your team members will want to get in the boat. If they’re already in the boat already, perhaps one reason they might not be rowing, is because you’re lacking a destination.
#2: Know Who is in the Boat.
Great coxswains, just like great leaders, understand how to extract the best efforts from each team member, because they know who is in the boat. There are eight members of a rowing crew, and each seat serves a specific role and purpose, meaning that each person brings different strengths to the team. While it’s important as leaders for us to find ways to motivate the whole team, it’s just as important to understand how to motivate each individual.
How do you do this? Coach each person individually on their specific skills. Use techniques that are specific to them, to help improve their individual performance. Keeping in line with my analogy, different strokes work for different folks. Finding out what drives them as individuals will help you as their leader learn how to push them, each in unique ways while you’re all in the boat together leading to better results, more wins as a team and building trust.
#3: To Speak Loudly, Slowly and Clearly.
This isn’t just a rowing thing. This is a leadership thing. The truth is, the people on your team need to be able to hear and understand what you’re saying. This seems pretty straightforward because it just has to do with communication. Basically, are you giving your teammates the information they need, in a timely and accurate fashion?
Between feedback on their performance, where the team is at, how much further you have to go, who is doing what, and a whole slew of other things, that at any given point in time there’s a ton of information that you’re responsible for passing along to your team. The more clear, honest and upfront you are about what’s going on, the more your team will trust you, and the less backseat leading you’ll have to deal with.
The other thing to be mindful of, is not only what you say, but how you say it.
This is something I personally didn’t realize until I listened to a recording of myself, which is why I highly recommend you practice and record yourself. There were times during my calls when I sounded rushed, other times I sounded demanding, and even some moments where you could hear doubtfulness creeping in.
All things you don’t want your team to hear. No matter what you’re speaking, as a leader, tone matters. Whatever you have to communicate, do it with confidence. This shows your team that you’re just as invested in the goal as they are, and builds trust because they know you care.
Leaders, just like coxswains, need to be able to motivate their team to push themselves beyond the limits they think they can reach, and during times when they’re already in pain.
This takes trust and respect, and it doesn’t come automatically just because you have a microphone, or just because you are the leader.
Trust may take many months to be earned. Performance over time, being consistent, showing up day after day. But in those sudden-death moments when you need to convince your team to do something that might seem beyond their capabilities, it’s absolutely essential, because when they trust you, you can will them to do more.
You can will them to pretty much do anything.
Thank you so much for listening to the podcast. To sign up for one of our free trainings on closing or recruiting, go to emergesalestraining.com/freetraining. If you enjoyed today’s podcast, be sure to share it with your friends, and leave us a review in iTunes, because it’s not nice to share. Have a great day.