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Trust me, I'm a leader?

If people don’t trust you, they’ll withhold information – because it’s too risky to be honest or to be vulnerable or to risk ‘not knowing’.  But if a lack of trust is the elephant in the room in your team, you need to address it.


By LYNN SCOTT

Lynn Scott Coaching

It’s all about Trust.

In my experience, resilient teams have a high level of trust for one another – or at least ‘enough trust to disclose their mistrust’ (Peter Hawkins, Leadership Coaching).

In fact, I’ve written about trust before in my article Five Ways Leaders Build Trust .

One of the key points I made in this article is that trust starts with YOU.

So two key questions for all of us are these:

Am I worthy of your trust?’ and ‘how do I demonstrate my trustworthiness to you every day?’

For leaders, these two questions are fundamental.

If people don’t trust you, they’ll withhold information – because it’s too risky to be honest or to be vulnerable or to risk ‘not knowing’.

If people don’t trust you, you won’t get the best out of them.  At least, not in the long term. They will be too busy trying to protect themselves and to survive. 

In Patrick Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team he identifies that Trust is the basis on which all other facets of team working are built – in fact he describes Dysfunction Number One as Absence of Trust  - ‘The fear of being vulnerable with team members prevents the building of trust within the team’.

‘Vulnerable’ doesn’t always sit well in organisational life – particularly in the cut and thrust of ‘too much to do and not enough time’. 

So no wonder many teams never ‘go there’.

The fundamental topic of Team Trust is often a difficult one – if not an impossible one -  for teams to get ‘on the table’.  It can feel intangible, ‘exposing’, too risky or too personal. It’s much safer to focus on ‘something practical’. (No vulnerability required).

But if a lack of trust is the elephant in the room in your team, you need to address it.

So where to start?

It’s fair to say that some teams will need expert help with this particularly when there’s unfinished business and historical baggage.

Other teams can make a start by bringing the topic of Trust into the open.

More on how to do that over the coming weeks and I’ve got lots of resources to share.

Lynn Scott

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