I ask the question over and over. "What is the most important characteristic for the leader of a team to possess?" Over and over, I hear the same answer: "Trust". The ability of a leader to earn the trust of his or her team is a process. Trust takes time and intentionality.
Assuming that we have the trust of our team is a critical mistake in leading others. One wise and successful executive told me "the first thing I do when transitioning into a new role is to take the time to build trust with my team. This means listening to them and learning about them."
Many times we may get so focused on the task that we overlook the team. Tasking without trust leads to miscommunication, frustration and a lack of productivity. It is the responsibility of the leader to provide an environment that facilitates trust. This looks like taking the time to invest in each member of your team and challenging him or her to do the same with those they lead. This includes showing that your words align with your behavior and that you authentically care about your team.
It's true in the sports arena, in the business community and in personal relationships. Develop the characteristic of trust in your relationships and you will make a difference.