Trust – The First Essential of Your Leadership Team

by Rebecca on June 28, 2015

I have written before about the importance of the leadership team in your hospital and that sentiment got reinforced when reading Patrick Lencioni’s The Advantage.

There is too much at stake when running an animal hospital today to believe that one person has all the answers, and honestly, it is too much a burden for one person to handle as well.  A leadership team is essential.

There are 5 behaviors that are required for your leadership team to be a successful:trust2

      1. TRUST

     2. CONFLICT

     3. COMMITMENT

     4. ACCOUNTABILILTY

     5. RESULTS

Trust between members of your leadership team is a must.  This seems so obvious, but I bet some teams struggle with this, and without TRUST, nothing else will get accomplished.  The kind of trust I’m referring to is not the same as asking someone to do something and knowing it will get done.  What Lencioni is speaking of is a vulnerability-based trust.

Vulnerability-based trust occurs when your leadership team is transparent with each other, when you can admit that you are wrong, and when you can tell someone that their idea is better than yours. “When everyone on the team knows that everyone else is vulnerable enough to say and mean those things, and that no one is going to hide his or her weaknesses or mistakes, they develop a deep and uncommon sense of trust.”

These types of conversations are not easy for me or probably anyone else who is used to being in charge, but TRUST is essential when building a cohesive leadership team.

A great idea Lencioni talks about to help develop “vulnerability-based trust” is to go through an exercise with your team.  This exercise consists of going around the room and telling everyone a few things about your lives (some of you may already know things about each other, but if not, then this is a great first step.)  He recommends having each person talk about where they were born, how many siblings they have, where they fall in the birth order of children, and lastly what the most interesting or difficult challenge was for them when they were a kid.

You are probably getting sick of hearing about the DISC profiles, but Lencioni also recommends doing personality profiles on each member of the leadership team and then reviewing them so each person can understand what makes the other tick.

Here is the part that many of you leaders may not want to hear. As the one in charge, you must go first.  You must be willing to open yourself and be vulnerable first if you truly want to create a unified, leadership team.

What are your thoughts on the concept of the leadership team?  Do you have a leadership team in your hospital, and if so, what is working and what is not?

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