I am interested in what makes up “high performing teams”, and helping companies get the best out of their staff.

So when I got a chance to go to an event where an AFL Football Coach along with a panel of CEO’s  were discussing the critical success factors needed to build high performance teams I didn’t hesitate to go.

It came as no surprise to me that the panel all agreed the foundation of building high performance teams hinged on two basic practices.

The first practice was to painstakingly make an effort to get the right people on the team. Take the time to recruit well was the theme. Of course there were other factors surrounding recruitment, but at its core was; focus on the right appointment. A bit of a no-brainer really.

The second practice was that it is important to provide the most effective leadership to the type of team you may have. I found that point to be another no-brainer.

The panel members then commented on the range of leadership styles they applied throughout their careers to optimise team performance. They shared some good stories about how they applied leadership to manage performance.

But what got my brain going while listening to the panel was when they described the various characteristics that made for good leadership. Things that leaders do that sets the culture and direction of the team, and the personal attributes you need to exhibit in order to establish and maintain leadership within the team.

The panel members had broad experience in different industries and spoke about how communication, and empathy, and the knack of feedback and a range of other elements were necessary to drive high performance.

One of the panel members, however, made a comment about a key ingredient that I personally believe leaders (and managers alike) should always have in their hip pocket.

That is, to be a good leader, your team needs to trust you, and for them to trust you, you need to do what you say you are going to do. Pretty simple. Quite basic, but very potent in my opinion.

Is establishing “trust” among the team the most basic, and possibly the most important attribute of leadership?

Would sports teams win grand finals if they didn’t trust their coaching staff?

Would symphonies sound spectacular if they didn’t trust the conductor??

Would companies thrive if they didn’t trust the senior leadership team???