how important is trust on teams?

Trust is of paramount importance on teams and is a recurrent theme in the work of executive coach Ed Batista. Trust is not a monolithic quality; it is assessed on two dimensions: intentions and judgment. When team members trust each other's intentions but doubt their judgment, it is easier to address. They can provide clearer guidance and support, and strive to avoid miscommunication. Conversely, if they trust someone's judgment but doubt their intentions, it is usually harder to manage. They may limit their engagement with them and minimize exposure to risk, while also assessing whether the perceived bad intentions are truly malevolent, opportunistic, or a misunderstanding [10].

Trust is also deeply connected to the concept of psychological safety within teams. Psychological safety is when individuals feel they can speak up, express concerns, and be heard without fear of being embarrassed or punished. This environment encourages candor, openness, and direct questioning, which is essential for effective teamwork and decision-making [15]. A lack of trust can inhibit these behaviors, leading to reduced participation, cooperation, and collaboration among team members.

Moreover, trust is foundational to establishing group norms that are conducive to high performance. Group norms, influenced by emotions, are social regularities that individuals feel obligated to follow. For a group to be effective, it needs to have norms that support the awareness and regulation of emotions during group activities. This requires trust among members, a sense of group identity, and a belief in the group's efficacy [1].

In summary, trust is critical for teams because it enables open communication, fosters psychological safety, and helps establish productive group norms. Without trust, teams may struggle with collaboration, creativity, and productivity, ultimately affecting their overall effectiveness and success.