Is A Lack Of Trust Killing Your Team?

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Does your team trust you?

Do they trust that you will:

  • share the credit when things go well?
  • have their backs when things go wrong?
  • be honest with them about what’s going on in the company?
  • make the right decision at crunch time?
  • deal with problems quickly, fairly, and appropriately?

As my colleague, Hall of Fame speaker David Horsager, author of The Trust Edge: How Top Leaders Gain Faster Results, Deeper Relationships, and a Stronger Bottom Line, says,“Everything of value is built on trust.”

“Everything of value is built on trust.” @DavidHorsager #leadership Click To Tweet

How would a soldier feel if he didn’t trust his general? How would a patient feel if she didn’t trust her surgeon? And how will your team members feel if they don’t trust you?

At one point during World War II, my dad commanded an air base in England. One day a US bomber flew in for refueling and some minor service. The commander of the 10-man crew was a then-famous former football star. My dad asked one of the crewmen what it was like serving with him, to which the crewman said, “He’s going to get us all killed.” (Sadly, that’s exactly what happened, just a few weeks later. The former football star was the sole survivor.)

For most of us, the matter of trust isn’t so literally life-or-death. But a loss of trust could mean the loss of a customer, the break-up of your team, and, at the extreme, the death of your business.

In the book Trust Works, authors Ken Blanchard, Cynthia Olmstead, and Martha Lawrence define four core aspects of trust (conveniently beginning with A, B, C, and D):

  1. Able: Are you able to do the job? Do you know your stuff? Can you get results?
  2. Believable: Can your team believe you? Do you have integrity? Can you admit it when you make a mistake?
  3. Connected: Do you care about the people you work with? Do you truly listen to them and their ideas? Do you acknowledge them for their successes?
  4. Dependable: Do you do what you say you’ll do? Do you get back to people in a timely manner? Are you consistent?

How well do you rate on these four aspects? More important, how well would your team rate you?

Speaking of your team, how well do you trust them? Trust is a two-way street. A leader who micromanages is, in effect, saying, “I don’t trust you to do your job,” or, at least, “I don’t trust you to do your job the way I would do it.”

One of the best ways to gain trust is by giving trust. If you truly don’t trust the members of your team to do a good job, then you’ve got either a training or a personnel issue. If, however your team members are qualified, and you’re still micromanaging, then they (and you) have a leadership issue.

If you’re micromanaging a good team, then THEY have a #leadership problem. Click To Tweet

Just as a parent has to, at some point, give their kids the keys to the car, so do you, as a leader, have to give your team members the keys to their own work.

At some point, you as a leader, have to give your team members the keys to their own work. #Leadership Click To Tweet

When you do that, you’ll be building a two-way bond of trust.


About the Author:

29-time Emmy Award winner and Hall of Fame keynote speaker Bill Stainton, CSP is an expert on Innovation, Creativity, and Breakthrough Thinking. He helps leaders and their teams come up with innovative solutions — on demand — to their most challenging problems.
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