Trust May Be The Missing Piece

01-21-20 Blog photo

Over my corporate career, I inherited many different teams and had to get up to speed on whatever function I was then leading. My go-to way of creating strong team connection was to trust each person from the start.

Trust? Another blog about trust? (See Jen’s great blog on trust and appreciation.)

Well, it is a popular topic among business leaders. In fact, I searched the Internet for “definition of trust” and found 395 million results! What that tells me is there are many variations on the theme and slightly different words to essentially express the same thing.

Rather than share or defend my definition, I’d like to offer another twist on trust: Do you first ask (or expect) others to earn it or do you first give them the opportunity to lose it? When I’ve asked this question of my executive clients, a majority are caught slightly off guard – they’ve actually never thought about it that way. Then, upon reflection, most admit that they unconsciously look for people to earn their trust.

When people don’t feel trusted: they can play it safe; they second-guess themselves (and others); they try to simply ‘please’ the boss. So, when a leader expects much from an individual whom that leader doesn’t yet trust, isn’t that leader potentially “hoisted on his own petard?” (One of my husband’s favorite comments when we play cards that actually came from Hamlet – it describes someone caught in his own trap.)

When people feel trusted: their confidence grows; they feel valued and connected; they are engaged; and they step up to more. And what leader wouldn’t want that?

This Week: Reflect on the relationships you have in both business and life. Wherever you’ve expected people to earn your trust, ask yourself, “How would your connection be different if trust was present already? What is truly possible?”

In Next Week’s Post: Growth inspires innovation.

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