Exercises for building trust within the search team
There are two levels of trust. Often what we take as “trust” is actually predictability: we expect that those around us will follow the rules and/or act in ways that are consistent with our understanding of who they are. This is the kind of trust that most search teams have when they begin their work.
Real trust goes deeper, however. It is a willingness to show up as our whole selves, knowing our vulnerability will lead to unpredictability. This risk-taking can lead to much richer relationships and more imaginative work. In order to build strong teams, it’s important to create this second-level trust. It is the root of the most thorough and faithful processes and the starting point for the most widely-owned outcomes.
Here, then, are a few suggestions for developing this second-level trust, which will continue to grow throughout the search process. Since deeply knowing and being known is difficult work, start with the lowest-risk exercises.
- Faith journey. Provides context for theological commitments.
- Reasons for agreeing to serve on the search team. Prompts honesty about personal agendas.
- Passions and skills to offer to the process. Puts all the team’s assets on the table.
- Learning styles. Enables search process development that meets all team members’ processing needs. (See list of helpful assessments.)
- Generational perspectives. Allows team members to grasp how perspectives differ by age cohort. (Reaching People under 30 While Keeping People over 60: Creating Community Across Generations by Edward H. Hammett is a good source of generational lenses, as is this video.)
- Communication styles. Helps team members understand how they tend to convey and receive information so that everyone can hear and be heard well. (See list of helpful assessments.)
- Conflict styles. Normalizes conflict and lets team members know how their peers usually approach it. (See list of helpful assessments.)
Questions to discuss:
- When have you experienced positive conflict? What made it positive?
- What prompts you to disengage from conversations, processes, and/or groups?
- What might keep us from gelling as a team?
- What gifts do we see in each other?
- Based on what we have learned about each other, how will we help one another participate in this team and this process?