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Ron Cardenas, Omaha-based VP of HR,  Offers Effective Team Building Do’s and Don’ts

There are hundreds of creative corporate team-building ideas, from trust fall exercises to company-wide scavenger hunts. Still, it takes more than an annual team-building special event to create a cohesive work environment. In this article, Vice President of Human Resources in Omaha, Ron Cardenas, discusses what it takes to build an atmosphere of trust and cooperation in the workplace. 

It is not easy to build an exceptional company based on the principles of trust and respect—to maintain a consistent climate of excellence. Effective leadership and sound administration help, but such an ambitious undertaking require commitment and support from every team member.

Building an effective team requires sustained effort, time, sacrifice, and work. It won’t happen just because the company leadership wants it; it takes effort to cultivate the right components. Trust is the crucial ingredient for any team, whether in the workplace or on the sports field. As Cardenas points out, it is essential in building unity and cohesiveness within a company.

For teamwork to survive, team members must develop trust, not only in their leaders but also in the team itself. According to the Oxford Lexico online dictionary, trust is a “firm belief in the reliability, truth, ability, or strength of someone or something.” Individual members need to believe that the team can accomplish exceptional results when working together. 

Everyone wants to feel that they belong to something meaningful, and there is a significant correlation between trust and a sense of belonging. Greater trust brings a greater sense of belonging, creating a stronger sense of community. A stronger sense of community accelerates teamwork within the organization.

Do’s and Don’ts of team building.

As a leader, you set the tone for your organization, shares Cardenas. Your team will scrutinize your actions and learn to trust or distrust the company based on your conduct and attitudes. Below are some common trust-destroying behaviors and their trust-inducing counterparts. 

Don’t put ego and selfish gain ahead of the good of the company. Do let your employees catch you making sacrifices for the company and their welfare. When your employees know that you have their best interests in mind, they will be inclined to give their best effort.

Don’t mock, belittle, or demean those with whom you disagree. Do consider everyone’s ideas and speak respectfully about those that oppose you. Before your employees can trust that you will never speak ill of them behind their back, they need to see how you talk about others when they are not around. 

Don’t exercise raw power to impose your will on others. Do engage in discussion and persuasion to find mutually acceptable solutions. Avoid leveraging your position as the leader to coerce others when reason and discussion can achieve the same result. 

Don’t use lies, half-truths, and misinformation to discredit others and promote your position. Do seek the truth about a particular issue or subject, even when inconvenient. White lies and half-truths will eventually be exposed, and the use of them will undermine your credibility as a leader. Cardenas emphasizes that no one wants to follow a leader they can’t trust. 

In the end, to build an exceptional company where each employee feels valued as a member of the team, leaders must consistently display behavior that inspires trust. Team-building events or activities can not artificially manufacture an enduring sense of teamwork. Leaders must cultivate an atmosphere of trust and respect through their genuine actions and attitudes over time. 

About Ron Cardenas

Ron Cardenas is the Vice President of Human Resources at an agriculture holdings company in Omaha, Nebraska. He is a versatile Human Resources professional with over 30 years of domestic and international experience. His track record includes creating and launching talent strategies for global organizations in varied industries.