Trust. It is the building foundation with which every paddling team should be built upon. Trusting that your team mates will make make smart decisions for themselves, you and the entire group makes for a much more enjoyable paddling experience. It also allows you to focus more on the decisions you need to make by not having to worry that they have given you wrong instructions or that they are paddling beyond their personal abilities on that given day. For me the ultimate sign of trust is allowing someone to lead you blindly (not looking at rapids or sections of river) down a river. Obviously the closer the river is to your comfort level the more important this trust becomes. This style of paddling may not be for everyone, but those capable and confident enough to give it a go a generally rewarded with an exceptional paddling experience that can never be repeated.
This past summer I traveled with a group of close friends to the white water mecca of Norway to share in some paddling adventures. A highlight of this trip was being shown blindly down a, fairly high, run on the Brandseth River. Check out a short little P.O.V video from that trip.