Episode 37 – Elements that Build and Sustain Trust

Your Sports Resource

Join me today as we explore “Elements that Build and Sustain Trust.” It’s vital for every thriving team.

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00:00:03 Introduction

This is the Your Sports Resource podcast, where each week, you’ll learn actionable strategies that you can implement so the operations of your club support your staff and the direction of your organization. We are committed to excellence in youth sports leadership.


Let’s get started.


Hey, there, and welcome to the Your Sports Resource podcast. I’m excited to have you here with me today as we dive into a topic that is crucial for any successful team, and that’s trust.


It’s no secret that when clubs and organizations struggle, communication and trust tend to be at the root of the problem.


I recently stumbled upon a quote that perfectly sums up the importance of trust in a team, and that is “A team is not a group of people who work together. A team is a group of people who trust each other.”


Trust is a delicate thing.


It takes time to build but can be lost in an instant and can take ages to regain or rebuild.


If you’re a coach whose board doesn’t trust you or a board whose coach has lost their trust, rebuilding that trust should be a top priority.


But today, I want to focus on how we can establish trust in the first place. So we don’t have to find ourselves in the position of having to rebuild it later on.


Now I’m going to be applying these ideas to the world of club and university swimming, but the principles we’ll be discussing today are applicable to anyone looking to build trust, whether it’s in a team setting or just in your personal relationship.


There are a few key things to keep in mind when it comes to building and maintaining trust, and today we’re gonna break them down 1 by 1.


First up is empathy, a word that sometimes gets a bad rap. People often mistake empathy for weakness, as if understanding someone else’s feelings means you’re letting them off the hook or not holding them accountable. But that couldn’t be further from the truth.


Empathy simply means having the ability to recognize and appreciate where someone else is coming from.


It’s not about agreeing or disagreeing. It’s about being able to make better decisions and provide more thoughtful guidance when you take the time to understand another person’s perspective.


If you’re quick to dismiss someone or their thoughts and feelings, you’re essentially saying that you don’t care about the full story.


On the other hand, extending empathy can foster kindness, compassion, and gratitude.


All key ingredients for building trust.


Of course, that doesn’t mean you should shy away from correcting someone when it’s necessary, but by approaching these moments with kindness and compassion, you can avoid damaging trust in the process.


So, the next time you find yourself jumping to conclusions or dismissing someone out of hand, take a step back.


Apologize if necessary and try to understand where they’re coming from. You might be surprised by what you learn.


Another critical aspect of building trust is the ability to reach a consensus.


This is particularly important when you’re trying to tackle a complex issue or develop a new program or initiative.


Unfortunately, all too often, head coaches and boards try to come up with solutions in isolation without consulting each other.


Both sides do it.


This approach can be exclusive and ultimately leads to less effective outcomes that don’t quite hit the mark.


The problem is that everyone involved has valuable insights and perspectives that need to be taken into consideration.


Building consensus means valuing and seeking out that input in order to arrive at the best possible solution.


Even if you’re convinced you have the perfect plan, it never hurts to ask for feedback and listen to others’ thoughts.


Ask yourself, are you really looking for the best-case scenario for your club and its members, or are you just trying to check off an item on your To-Do List?


Are you someone who always thinks your way is the right way in a nonprofit setting, there’s no room for egos. You must be willing to put the best interest of the club and its members above your own opinions and preferences.


And that means considering and incorporating other suggestions in order to reach a true consensus.


Another crucial element in building trust is transparency.


Now I know that I’ve talked about this topic before, but it’s still surprising to me how many people struggle with the concept of disclosure.


I understand that people often fear judgment or pushback when they open up about their decisions and thought processes, but what many fail to realize is that people are much more likely to get behind a decision or a vision if they truly understand it.


Transparency requires a certain level of faith and trust on your part. But if you believe in what you’re doing, then what is the hesitation?


Of course, there are certain things that you can’t necessarily disclose, like financial information or specific details about employees. You know, for example.


But that doesn’t mean you need to keep everything under lock and key.


The more open and honest you are with your team, the more engaged they’ll be.


Plus, transparency isn’t just about creating engagement. It’s also about avoiding miscommunication or misunderstandings that can erode trust.


When you’re upfront and honest about your thought processes and decision-making, you give your team a better understanding of what’s going on and what’s at stake.


That way, everyone is on the same page and working towards a common goal, and that, in turn, leads to a much stronger foundation of trust.


Now before we move on, I want to ask you.


Are you feeling stuck in a rut with your club? Have lackluster direction, or maybe you’re struggling to get everyone on the same page?


This is where Your Sports Resource can help.


As a consultant who specializes in youth sports clubs and university swim teams, I’m all about keeping things practical and action-oriented.


No fluff or theory here, just a game plan that you can put into place right away.


My goal is to help you shift your mindset from just surviving or getting by to truly thriving with plenty of options for growth and success.


If you’re curious about how I can help, shoot me an e-mail at info@yoursportsresource.com, we’ll set up a no-pressure call where we could chat about your specific concerns and see if my consulting services might be a good fit for you. Let’s work together to make your swim team the best it can be.


The two more critical areas to consider when it comes to building and maintaining trust are delegation and autonomy.


These two concepts go hand in hand and can make all the difference in creating a team that is empowered and effective.


One common issue I see time and time again is people feeling like they’re drowning in work and not getting the support they need. But often, this is a result of lack of delegation.


People are reluctant to let go of certain tasks, or they’re not clear enough about what they need help with in order to let them go.


Delegation is key to empowering others to learn and grow and to ensuring that everyone has a balanced workload.


It might take a bit more work in the short term to explain and train others on how to take on certain tasks, but it ultimately lightens your load and frees you up to focus on where you can make the biggest impact.


However, delegation only works if you allow for some degree of autonomy.


Autonomy means giving others the freedom to own their roles, take risks, and be responsible and accountable for their actions.


When boards or managers feel like they have to micromanage or control every little thing.


It’s a sign that something’s not working. I tell clubs all the time. If you’re a board that feels like you have to tell the head coach what to do on the day-to-day, at least one of you are lacking.


Either you need a new head coach because they don’t know what they’re doing, or you’re not a very good leader.


I’m just saying it like it is, good leaders empower their teams to make their own decisions and take ownership of their work.


Now, of course, that doesn’t mean you should completely step back and never check in, but if you’re constantly second-guessing or trying to micromanage every little detail, you’re not only undercutting your team’s confidence, you’re also eroding trust.


Trust your team to do their jobs and give them the autonomy they need to be successful.


Now, if you relate autonomy to delegation when you hand that task over, you know, don’t get your panties in a bunch if they chose to go a different route than you but produce the same results, at the end of the day, what matters is the end result.


So, celebrate their success and let them know they’re doing a great job.


Finally, one of the most crucial areas when it comes to building and sustaining trust is communication.


When it comes to losing trust, it’s almost always due to a lack of communication.


Whether it’s not enough information, not frequent enough updates, or simply not being clear about what’s going on.


When there’s a lack of communication, human nature is to fill that gap with assumptions.


And all too often, those assumptions are negative or pessimistic. That’s why, as a leader, it’s critical to err on the side of over-communication.


Of course, you need to be thoughtful and strategic about how you communicate, but when it’s well done, effective communication leaves little room for assumptions.


Good communication ensures that everyone has the right information at the right time and in the right way. It helps to avoid misunderstandings, confusion, and mistrust and can go a long way in building a strong foundation of trust.


So don’t be afraid to communicate often and openly. It’s one of the most important things you can do to keep your team engaged, informed, and on the same page.


Now building and sustaining trust requires a combination of empathy, consensus building, transparency, delegation and autonomy, and effective communication.


By valuing and incorporating everyone’s input, being open and honest about your thought processes and decision-making, empowering others to learn and grow, and communicating frequently and effectively, we can create a strong foundation of trust that enables us to achieve our goals and build stronger, more effective teams.


Thanks for listening today, and please subscribe, rate, and review this podcast so we can help more people such as yourself. You can also find more resources on yoursportsresource.com. Thanks for spending time with me.