In the Mandt System, there is a lot of talk and discussions throughout the workshops about the importance of building and maintaining trust. Trust with the individuals served, starts with trust that the staff role model in their relationships with one another. When teams have trust amongst the members then all other aspects are enhanced: Communication, problem solving, creativity, and productivity.

“Trust in its purest form is placed in individuals” (Harell & Daim, 2009). Someone may say they trust a team but in reality, they trust the individuals that make up the team. It is important in the early stages of team development that managers focus on building trust into the individual members of the team. The process of trust building is nurtured not forced. According to Daft and Lengel (1998), “engaging people to make changes rather then trying to change them” is what is going to be most successful in our long-term outcomes.

The importance of personality differences and cultural diversity enhance the value additives necessary for good teams but can also make trust building more challenging. Flanagan and Runde (2009) suggest that this start with getting members to discuss interests, experiences, insights, and possible hot topics. In our trainings, we discuss the importance of getting to know the clients using items like a de-escalation preference tool. This same idea is applicable to getting to know one another in our teams.

Once members of a team start to share their likes, dislikes, experiences and hot topics, similarities and differences can start to be explored. “Trust develops when team members make themselves vulnerable by being frank, open and willing to exchange fresh ideas” (Flanagan & Runde, 2009). Through the process of open and honest discussions that are wrapped in the commitment to at all times treat fellow members with dignity and respect, trust in teams will start to form.

“Trust is the basic ingredient of all organizations, the lubricant that maintains the organization (Bennis & Nanus, 1985). The foundation of focusing on relationships is so this trust can start to form. Without it nothing else will stick. Ultimately, teams will not function to their fullest capacity in areas of communication, problem-solving, nor overall productivity until trust is established.
Only then can we also truly role model to the individuals receiving services that we are worthy to be trusted supporting them with behavior changes and daily living assistance.

Tim Geels

Bennis, W.B. & Nanus, B. (1985) Leaders: The strategies of taking charge. New York Harper & Row.
Daft, R. L. & Lengel, R. H. (1998) Fusion leadership: Unlocking the subtle forces that change people and organizations. San Francisco: Berrett-Koehler Publishers, Inc.
Flanagan, T., & Runde, C. (2009). How teams can capitalize on conflict. Strategy & Leadership, 37(1), 20-20-22. doi:10.1108/10878570910926025
Harell, G., & Daim, T. U. (2009). Virtual teams and the importance of building trust. IT
Professional Magazine, 11(6), 46-49. doi:10.1109/MITP.2009.135