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Achieving greatness with trust and support in the workplace – Learning from the Springboks

Updated: Dec 3, 2023

By Valeske Kelly, Caren Swanepoel and Gideon Heyns, Directors and Managing Director of CSIP (Caren Swanepoel Industrial Psychologists), CSIP Heyns and CSIP Kelly. CSIP may be contacted on 067 930 5709 or Visit our website:

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In the dynamic landscape of modern workplaces, success is often attributed to the collective efforts of a team rather than the individual brilliance of its members. The pivotal factor that binds a team together and propels it toward success is trust. Just like a well-oiled machine, a team that operates on a foundation of trust can overcome challenges, adapt to change, and achieve remarkable feats. The recent triumph of the Springboks in the Rugby World Cup serves as a compelling example of how trust can be the differentiator between a good team and a truly exceptional one.

Whether on the sports field or in the workplace, these principles contribute to success, trust and shared accomplishments.

Building Trust in Work Teams

Trust is not a mere nicety in a work setting; it is the glue that holds a team together. Trust is fostered through open communication, shared values, and a sense of reliability among team members. When team members trust each other, they feel secure in expressing their ideas, taking risks, and contributing to the collective goals of the team. They are comfortable disagreeing without being disagreeable.

Communication is a Cornerstone

Effective communication is the cornerstone of trust within a team. Transparent and open communication ensures that team members are aware of the expectations, strengths, and challenges. The Springboks, on their journey to World Cup victory, demonstrated exceptional communication on and off the field. Players trusted each other to execute game plans, communicated effectively during matches, and provided constructive feedback to enhance individual and team performance.

Shared Goals and Values

The Springboks, as a team, had a clear and unified vision of winning the Rugby World Cup. Trust and teamwork are essential to align individual motivations with the team's overarching goal, ensuring that everyone is working towards the same objective.

A team without a shared purpose is like a ship without a compass. Establishing common goals and values creates a unifying force that aligns team members toward a collective vision. The Springboks exemplified this unity by embracing a shared commitment to representing their nation and overcoming historical challenges. This shared purpose fostered a deep sense of trust among team members, inspiring them to give their best on the field. Both Rassie Erasmus and Jacques Nienaber, although making unpopular decisions at times, explained and communicated their rationale in a manner that the team understood and together could focus on their unified vision.

Reliability and Accountability

Trust is also built on the foundation of reliability and accountability. Team members must be confident that their colleagues will deliver on their commitments and take responsibility for their actions. The Springboks showcased accountability by learning from their losses, adapting their strategies, and holding themselves responsible for their performance. This commitment to improvement instilled a sense of trust within the team, allowing them to evolve into a formidable force.

Resilience in the Face of Adversity

Every team encounter challenges, and the ability to overcome adversity is a testament to the strength of its trust bonds. The Springboks faced numerous challenges, including injuries and tough opponents, on their journey to the World Cup. Their resilience, determination, and unwavering trust in each other enabled them to navigate these challenges successfully, emerging as world champions.

The Ripple Effect: Trust Beyond the Field

The impact of trust within a team extends far beyond the immediate work environment. Trust breeds collaboration, innovation, and a positive work culture. When individuals trust their teammates, they are more likely to share ideas, collaborate on projects, and contribute to a supportive work atmosphere.


As we reflect on the Springboks' triumph in the Rugby World Cup, it becomes evident that their success is not just a result of individual talent but a testament to the power of trust within a team. Trust is the invisible force that transforms a group of individuals into a cohesive, high-performing unit capable of achieving greatness. Organizations that prioritize building and nurturing trust among their teams are more likely to cultivate an environment where success becomes not just a goal but an inevitable outcome.

As we close off 2023 and take a well-deserved break, the CSIP Team wishes you a festive holiday period and that you may return with renewed energy in 2024! Make it your goal in the new year to build trust in your organisation/team to achieve greatness, just as the Springboks made history by winning the world championship for the fourth time!

CSIP (Caren Swanepoel Industrial Psychologists)

The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view of Lexinfo CC.

Posted: 30 December 2023


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