Trust in teams is the core ingredient for better collaboration

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Recently I was training a group of sales management people on ‘Collaborating as a team’ using Office 365 and Microsoft Teams in particular. A lot of useful discussion was around control, or rather the perception of having lack of control. Trust in teams is a core ingredient for better collaboration, not governance and control.


Trust in teams versus trust in my way of working

When compared with the way people are used to work now, the perception for collaborating with Microsoft Teams is an individual is not in control of what happens to ‘their’ files. Because each team member can edit files, delete them or delete previous versions. Also not being able to archive conversations in a familiar (and archaic) folder way contributes to a feeling of not being in control, and the fear of not being able to find conversations later on.

With the way people work now, using their email and saving files in their laptop locally, each person can create folder structures on laptops and in email. We can send (push) information to whom we feel should read it. Most people feel they have control this way. Even though the push of information through email seems to be falsely creating a feeling of control. But that is not what I’d like to discuss here. What matters here most is that wanting control. So often questions are raised how the tool can provide mechanisms for giving more regulation and control.

There are of course possibilities for limiting members to be able to delete content, or retrieving deleted content, and also different options of being notified or sending notifications. The question is, should we tailor a collaboration platform to suit this need for control? Or should we build on trust within teams?


Trust in teams does not come from adding more control

With the fast changing world, businesses need to be fast and agile. Limiting people by adding more rules and control is directly opposite of the strategic value of tools like Microsoft Teams. Collaboration tools are meant to facilitate transparency and communication and for that to happen, there needs to be trusted.

If we want to collaborate more effectively as a team trust in teams is essential. Trust your colleagues will not delete content you created (‘own’). Trust we all keep to agreed ways of working, such as the responsibility to follow what is important to you and the team (and use notifications the way you prefer). Trust we have good intentions when communication goes wrong, and we mean well when providing feedback.

Trust does not come from controlled tools. Of course, it helps when everybody know why we use the tool, how to use it and what the functionality is. But more importantly, trust is about interaction and experiences as a team. Don’t try to reshape the tool, but work on team trust.