This past week I had the opportunity to talk with two 30-something sisters and their brother from Pakistan.  They talked about the violence in their city; the discrepancy in wages earned by Christians and non-Christians; the common practice of woman having a “relationship” with their boss in order to be paid more; and the night three inebriated officers showed up after their apartment was burglarized.  As the group and I listened in amazement, the conversation eventually turned to one of gratitude for the freedoms we have here in the United States.

Being an “observer of people” I noticed how the tone of our conversation changed, and the bond between the people in the room increased.  This led me to thinking of how gratitude can increase a bond between people, and may help to further build a team.

In Patrick Lencioni’s team development model, he shows us that trust is at the core of a cohesive team.  He narrows the type of trust needed on a team to specifically vulnerability trust.  In working with a team we help them increase vulnerability by

  • acknowledging their weaknesses,
  • apologizing, and
  • asking one another for help.

These behaviors help to build trust on a team.

After my experience this week, I’m thinking that expressing gratitude is also a meaningful exercise to build team trust.

Having a leader “show gratitude” or appreciation for a team member’s contribution, encouraging team members to appreciate the talents of one another, or simply saying “thank you” for work done well or efforts made, can all contribute to the bond between a leader and his team, and between team members.

An added bonus is that this foundation of gratitude will increase the likelihood that team members will be more vulnerable – essential to building a highly cohesive team.

Coaching Thoughts – For You and Your Peers

  • What are you grateful for in your work?
  • Think of the unique talents each of your team members brings to their work.  Let each of them know.
  • What are the positive contributions your team makes to your company?  Share those at your next team meeting.