Team Dysfunctions “Lack of Trust”


By Deonna Marshall, M.S.
Clinic Director, St. Hope Foundation

To Trust or Not To Trust… That’s The Question???

Or is it?? I see this question being more solvable and less debatable. However, we create this complexity. Often times our decision to trust is contingent on our past experiences of trusting someone. Too many encounters with untrustworthy people create a recipe for hysteria when attempting to trust again.

We tend to look for indicators in everyone to try and answer this very question of “To Trust or Not to Trust”? We use outlandish measures such as the “TRUST TEST”, which is an absurd, subjective test standardized by the State Board of “ME” administered to assess a prospect’s trustworthiness.

Oh Gosh! We forbid something is said or done that is similar to the last person that abused our trust! The little voice in our heads begin saying “Did you just hear what she said?? That’s a red flag. Remember the last person who said that to you? Look what happened.” So, we create this sense of paranoia, setting unrealistic expectations for others. These boundaries become the walls of a fort we build around ourselves deliberately with the intention of no one ever being able to get in. We do it simply because we want to protect ourselves from the vulnerabilities we may expose other’s to by being trusting.

However, Trust is the foundation of every relationship. It’s even more profound for a TEAM. It’s a two-street that everyone have to be willing to travel down even if it has uneven lines, gigantic pot holes, and broken signal lights. If members of a team cannot trust one of another, it is doomed before it ever begins.

Imagine a quarterback not trusting that his linemen will protect him from the blitz of a nationally-ranked defense?? Imagine his linemen not trusting that he is the one who can lead them to the championship game? What a dysfunction! I would bet my bottom dollar that this team would have a losing season that will go down in the history books, there would be a lot of career-ending injuries, and the Football Club would lose substantial amounts of money due low support by their fans. Why? The answer is because they built their foundation on sand pebbles of fear, bitterness, jealousy, invulnerability, and ego rather than a solid concrete slab of trust.

Of course it not wise to be so naïve believing that everyone you meet will be deserving of your trust. In fact, that little voice may very well be right in some situations. However, when you are on a Team that was bought together for the purpose of WINNING, then it is evident that trust has to be present to win. Things won’t be perfect, but it will be manageable if you all allow yourselves to be vulnerable and transparent to the ones who are on your A-TEAM. The lack of trust will only leads to a breakdown in the team. Without it, there will never be any opportunity to surmount to greatness.

With each new person, brings a new experience. Better yet, a new opportunity allows us to build a trusting relationship. We all have been guilty of compromising trust. However, the beauty in it is that it can always be rebuilt. So create the room for error. It’s not how you start as a team but rather how you persist in trusting one another to make it improve and achieve the ultimate goal.

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