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In my post “What Separates The Best Teams From the Rest”,  I shared the results of the extensive research by Marcus Buckingham and his team at the ADP Research Institute. They discovered that the biggest factor in driving a high level of engagement was whether or not people did most of their work as part of a team.

Of course, just being in a team on an organisational chart isn’t the magic bullet. How your team works together is crucial to the results you gain and the level of engagement and therefore ongoing commitment you receive from your team members.

It’s probably easy to agree with this finding.  Most people prefer working with others than working alone. The finding that is much more confronting for managers and leaders is that their research also showed that the biggest factor for a team to be committed and to perform at a high level was how much they really trusted their manager.


Do You Trust Your Manager?

The ADP Research Institute study strongly suggests that a number of key factors separate the best teams from the rest.

The most impactful of these factors is the level of trust the team members have in their manager/leader.

In their research, they found those team members who ‘strongly agree’ that they trust their manager/leader are eight times more likely to be fully engaged than those who just ‘agree’ or are ‘neutral’.


The power of trust


Trust Must Run Deep

The trust must be deep and not in doubt, at all.

A team member who merely ‘agrees’ that she trusts her manager/leader shows roughly the same level of engagement as someone who actively distrusts his team leader. In other words for trust to make a difference, it must be extreme.

In analysing their results, Marcus Buckingham and his team discovered that strong agreement with two of the eight statements from their survey were critical for this extreme level of trust. These statements were:

  1. ‘At work, I clearly understand what is expected of me’
  2. ‘I have the chance to use my strengths every day at work’

These are tangible statements and actions. As a manager or leader, you can ensure that you do them and that your team members are therefore able to ‘strongly agree’ with each and trust you implicitly.

Start by asking yourself these 4 questions today:

  1. How sure am I that each person in my team knows what is expected of them – or have I assumed that they know?
  2. Am I sure that they know what they need to achieve and how they should achieve it?
  3. What are each person’s key strengths?
  4. How do I ensure that they get to use at least one of these strengths, every day?

Not only will this make your role as a leader less stressful and more enjoyable, but your team performance and their engagement levels will also shine.


To discover how to increase engagement in your team, click here to learn more about our popular ENGAGE FOR SUCCESS workshop, or contact World Class Teams on 1300 085 248 or