Last week’s post, A Matter of Trust, generated some great conversation on the Center For Creative Leadership LinkedIn group. One interesting addition was a paradoxical question from Carol Ann Hamilton, “which comes first, trust or trust?” Indeed, trust is a complex two-way street.
In a follow-up conversation she shared:
Let’s make three lists:
2.) The Bigger Story
Onto “Someday,” place everything you haven’t touched and that really doesn’t relate to anything in the short-term (because if it did, you’d have completed it already).
I ask this paradoxical question to get my facilitation and coaching clients to think about which type of person they generally are: 1) Do you accord trust naturally and only re-evaluate your interactions with someone if it is violated? or 2) Does trust have to be earned with you, so that you dole out your trust and respect when the other proves themselves worthy in your books?
The truth is most leaders (including me), don’t treat everyone on their team with the same level of trust. Whether we “accord trust naturally” or if “it has to be earned,” trust is impacted by behaviors. We learn who we can trust with the most important work. Those we trust, we empower with less oversight. When someone has given us cause to question their competence or follow-through, we are more likely to double-check and provide more hands-on support.
Carol’s question got me thinking: what are the behaviors that lead me to fully trust someone on my team? What behaviors cause me to back off and let them do their thing? Here are my top 6. I hope you will add more to the list in your comments.
Your Boss Will Trust You When You
1. Do what you say you will
Every time. Integrity and consistency are vital to trust. When stuff happens that changes your commitment, communicate quickly and explain why.
2. Follow through
This one is slightly different from #1. Follow-through involves looking at the outcomes of your actions and ensuring they achieved the desired result. “Doing what you say” is not enough if it did not produce the right outcome. There is more work to do. Do it, or ask for help.
3. Develop great peer relationships
You boss cares what other people are saying about you. She wants to know you work well with others, offering and asking for help when needed.
4. Follow the “no blind side” rule
This is the one I see breakdown the most. Always be the first to share your own bad news and what you are doing about it. Don’t let your boss get wind of a breakdown through the grapevine (or worse, from their boss).
5. Know the details
You boss will trust you when you know what you are doing. She will be less likely to want to know every detail if she is sure that you do.
6. Ask what else you can do to help
No boss wants to wonder if their people have enough to do. If you have extra bandwidth offer to do more. Your boss will then trust that you have plenty to do when you are not asking.
As leader, you need to show up from a place where you view your people as brilliant. You expect the best. If, on the other hand, you show up thinking this person is lacking, or won’t do a good job, you’ve compromised the relationship before you begin.
Thanks so much, Steve. You raise a vital point. How leaders start the relationship and assuming brilliance is a fantastic place to start.
I bet reputation plays a large part in this. When you get a new team member, what you have heard about them helps determine how much trust you will start with. Absent any reputation it would seem like the only way to increase trust is look professional an have an open smile and clear conscience.
Careful optimism might be the safest way to view new team members.
Marcus, Thanks so much for your comments. I agree reputation can really play into it… that can be a good or bad thing. I am with you that regardless of what you hear, optimism and benefit of the doubt is a good place to start. Thanks for joining the conversation.
Great post, Karin! For your consideration : Your boss will trust you only when you trust her/him. Trust is reciprocal.
yes! exactly. stay tuned…