Patrick Lencioni tells us in The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team that the first building block is trust. Without it no team can go any further than the first block. Do you trust your teammates? Do you trust your coaches? Do you trust your co-workers? Do you trust your boss? Most of the best teams I have been on have demonstrated this fairly quickly. The best use of building trust I have seen is where the team leaders ask for help. They ask for help from their teammates and they ask for help from their coaches. They are not afraid of showing their vulnerability. It seems that teams with great leaders that do this open a door to allow others to ask for help from themselves, as well. An environment of helping ensues. An environment of being ok with making mistakes is created. A sense of trust is established. Grudges usually are not held against one another and wasting time and energy on not helping or finding solutions is not an option.
We all trust that we are working together for a common goal, to win. When a leader can expose his/her own weakness to the team (whether it be a coach, team captain or supervisor) they are using that I in WIN to say I screwed up and I need the rest of the teams help to get better, to fix it. Without that ability to stand up and show vulnerability most teams would hide their weakness and not share mistakes they have made to avoid unnecessary duplication. Coaches and team leaders can exhibit this I vulnerability to create those trusting moments where valuable information about collective experiences and/or skills can be useful down the road. I am more comfortable sharing when I know that others do make mistakes, just like me. It is so refreshing to bring a sense of collective intelligence into meetings instead of sitting back and watching one person handle everything. That is where I think Michael Jordan was going when he said there is no I in team but there is in W I N. Not I that takes all the shots, but it is I that shows their vulnerability that sets the team on a course to W I N. All it takes is one I.