Trust. A small word that can have a lot of meaning. Trust (or some degree of it) is essential for teamwork and collaboration, but it's also something that takes effort to build, and when trust is not there, it can affect the quality and quantity of the work being done by the team.
When thinking about working with my team, the biggest trust concern I have is that I don't know if my team trusts me. I have felt several times at work that I'm not empowered to make my own decisions, and I think part of that is trust. Do my teammates not trust my to make the right decision? Or is it not a matter of trust, but rather people telling me not to overstep my bounds and make decisions that aren't mine to make? If it's the latter, then that's something I need to work on - I need to learn when a decision is mine to make and when I need to consult with someone else (for example, someone from the product team). But if it's the former, why would my teammates not trust me to make the right decision? Is it just because I have not yet shown them that I am capable of consistently making the right decision? Or is it because they somehow know that I don't always trust my own decision-making?
Wait ... do I trust my own decision-making? I know I've made some bad decisions in the past (and some decisions that I can't decide whether or not they were bad decisions), but overall, I have to had made some good decisions to get to where I am in my career. So do I trust my decision-making? I think the answer is sometimes. In low-risk situations where I feel like I have all of the important information I need to know, I trust myself to make the right decision. But in higher-risk situations, or situations where I may not have all the information, I don't always trust myself to make the right decision. When the stakes are high (for example, something that could affect the future path of my career) or I don't feel like I have all the information, I start to doubt myself, and I don't always make the right decision. And I think the people around me may realize that and that may influence whether or not they trust me.
I know that I can't be truly successful (in life or in my career) if I can't learn to more consistently trust my decision-making. But how do I learn to trust myself when I know I've made bad decisions in the past? The truth is, making bad decisions is part of learning to trust myself. Everyone makes mistakes. That's a part of life. What matters is how you handle those mistakes and bad decisions. I often dwell on those mistakes and think about how things would have been different had I made a different decision. This has not really led to any productive growth from my mistakes. It's important to remember that I make mistakes - but rather on dwelling on what would have happened had I done things differently, I need to focus on what I can learn from my mistake and how I grow to make a better decision next time. I already know that I make some good decisions, and the more I focus on the good decisions I've made and learn from the bad decisions, the more I will trust myself to consistently make the right decision.
Trusting myself is not enough for me to be successful at work - I need my team to trust me too. How can I do that? The best way for me to show my team that I'm capable of making good decisions is to make good decisions. The more the team sees me contributing and consistently making the decisions that are best for our team and our product, the more they will learn that my decisions can be trusted and I know what is best for our team. It's also important for me to acknowledge that I will continue to make mistakes and occasionally make the wrong decision, but when that happens, I need to own up to my decision and learn from it so that I don't make that same bad decision again. Owning my bad decisions is a big part of growing to become a better decision-maker, and when my teammates see that not only am I capable of making good decisions, I'm also self-aware enough to acknowledge when I don't, that will help them understand that my decisions can be trusted.
Developing trust with a new team can be difficult, particularly if you don't trust yourself to make the right decisions. I know that my team wants to trust me to make the right decisions, and the best way for me to earn that trust is by demonstrating my ability to make the right decision for our needs and by acknowledging when I make a mistake (and learning from it). I also need to remember that when someone questions my decision, it may not mean that they don't trust my ability to make the right decision, they may just be pointing out that I'm the right person to be making that decision. While a certain amount of trust should be assumed when a new person joins a team, it's important to build on that trust by performing to the best of your ability and comfort level, and by using that trust to experiment and help yourself grow. I know that as I learn to better trust my own decision-making and show my team that I will make the right decision most of the time, and once I am confident in my ability to do that, I know that my team's trust in me and my decision-making will continue to grow.