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Building trust and understanding

Whether you're working with new people or want to improve the dynamics in an existing team, coming together to have open conversations about work styles, behaviours, and preferences, is time very well spent.


At Form we recently spent an incredibly valuable away day with an enneagram expert, and it gave us an in depth understanding of how each person in the team could work best.

It’s a really good way to understand one another, get an insight into how to work better together, and nurture a culture of collaboration and productivity.

Creating these moments to connect are vital for teams who want to innovate, adapt, and thrive in an ever-evolving world.

Here are four steps you can take to start building trust and understanding:

Set the foundations

Every organisation is made up of individuals who think and behave differently, and this has an impact on work styles and preferences. By creating forums to discuss and embrace this collectively we can lay the foundations for cultivating understanding and trust.

Overcome common hesitations

As leaders we try to create a cohesive culture and smooth operations, so it’s natural to feel hesitant about discussing differences. Similarly, your team might initially feel uncomfortable opening up about their thoughts, preferences, and behaviours. Make sure to acknowledge these feelings of unease, because without addressing these it’s tough to develop effective collaboration.

Unlock the power of open conversations

Real understanding takes time and a commitment to being open and honest. But it’s time well spent. Open and deep conversations about style and preferences can lead to powerful outcomes. Encourage discussion that goes beyond things like communication styles and preferences to explore values, personality, leadership, and ways of working. When we have this deep understanding of others perspectives, we’re less likely to respond in a reactive way or make false assumptions.

Set agreements to work better together.

Open conversations set the foundations but getting practical will ensure lasting value comes from this place of greater understanding. Co-create agreements around the challenges that have come to light, this could be things like communication, decision-making, or over-coming silos. Whatever the challenge, create a collective action plan that will guide future behaviour and how you can interact and work best together.

Getting a deeper understanding of those you work with can be really powerful. It leads to more compassion and less reactivity, it builds trust and understanding, and it can reduce conflicts in the workplace.

And by understanding and embracing this diversity you’re better equipped to cultivate a rich pool of perspectives, making your organisation more innovative, more adaptable, and ultimately more productive.

Tools like enneagrams are a great way to start exploring work styles and as a team we’re already seeing real value from the session. If you’re interested in finding out more about them we’d love to share our experience with you.