Pursue What Matters
Episode 146: 3 Questions for Building Trust
Please excuse any typos, transcripts are generated by an automated service
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
Why is trust so hard to build and maintain? It’s such a question for both our personal and professional lives. So this is my answer in a nutshell, because trust cannot happen without vulnerability. And the truth is, most of us don’t do vulnerability.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:39
I’m Dr. Melissa Smith, welcome to the Pursue What Matters podcast where we focus on what it takes to thrive in love and work. So today, we’re going to talk about how trust and vulnerability go hand in hand. And what this means at work primarily recognizing that it absolutely applies at home. So we are going to keep this conversation simple, simple, is usually most effective. So we are going to focus on three questions. The first question, why does trust matter? Right? Like why should I even listen to the podcast? Second, what is trust? Right, like, what is it? What is vulnerability? And then third, how do you build trust at work?
Dr. Melissa Smith 1:20
And here’s the thing, right, we’re going to be focusing on work, but this applies at home, as well. And so of course, every week with the podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters by strengthening your confidence to lead. So we do that by helping you lead with clarity, which is connecting to purpose. We do that by leading with curiosity, which connects you to self awareness. And we do that by leading and building a community where we’re thinking about how do you connect and build trust with one another. So today, of course, our focus is on leading and building a strong community building a strong culture. And then also we’re going to be focusing on clarity, because we’re asking this why question, which always points us to purpose, like, why would we do this activity over another activity? So let’s jump right in? And look at our first question, which is why? Why does trust matter at work, right? So we really want to help you understand this. So there is so much research that supports trust as foundational to success and happiness in our relationships, both at work, and at home. So we think about some of these secret ingredients, right like that, it’s that you just if you don’t have this ingredient, you’re not going to be successful, right. So thinking about bread, if you don’t have yeast, it will not rise. And that’s really what trust is like when we think about success at work, we think about strong relationships, we think about a strong organizational culture, it is the glue that holds our relationships together, it gives us meaning and connection, and commitment. So trust allows us to grow, to develop and to take risks. And think about that in the context of work, why we have to do that, we always are having to work at the edge of our skills in order to create success. And so when trust is undermined or non existent, we move into survival mode. So we fail to communicate honestly, we fail to tackle challenges, we fail to collaborate, and we fail to innovate. So when we don’t have trust, this is a big problem. So now let’s head to the second question, which is what is trust? And then we’re also going to ask the question, what is vulnerability? And I’ll give you the answer. Because these really go hand in hand, you can’t really talk about trust, without also talking about vulnerability. And so the first thing to know here is that trust never happens in a vacuum. Trust only happens in the context of vulnerability. So I want you to hear that, again. Trust only happens in the context of vulnerability. And vulnerability is more likely, when there is some trust in place. Okay, so that that might sound a little bit tricky, but the thing to understand so the way that I like to understand it, is that trust and vulnerability happen in a step wise fashion, thank you think about walking one foot after the other. So they’re like two feet. And with each step of vulnerability, you then take the next step of trust, they happen together, and it’s not possible any other way you won’t build trust without some vulnerability. So I’ve just always want to make the point here, whenever we talk about vulnerability, that it is not necessarily self disclosure, right? It can include self disclosure, but vulnerability is all about not being guarded, not filtering, not hiding, when you interact with others. So when I think about vulnerability, I think about being genuine. That’s not the same as authentic right there. Those are similar terms. Thinking about being genuine. I’m not trying to hold back I’m not trying to perform. But I can I can be real and true. And that allows connection. So vulnerability actually allows you to truly connect. And the heart of true connection is always vulnerability. And again, that can’t happen without giving and earning some trust. So from Brene Brown, who’s taught us so much about vulnerability, she the definition of vulnerability is uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. Right. And so when I said at the top of the podcast, most of us don’t do vulnerability, because why would we sign up for uncertainty risk and emotional exposure? Like, that’s not very pleasant. And yet that is that is foundational to building trust. So it’s uncomfortable Brene Brown talks about embracing the suck. Of course, we know that comes from military, that yeah, it’s gonna be uncomfortable like that, by definition. So let’s now talk about trust. So what is trust? Right, so it is, right. First of all, the thing to understand about trust is that it’s earned in small moments, not in grand gestures. So Dr. John Gottman, who’s done so much research on what it takes to have strong relationships, talk T talks about trust as sliding door moments. So these small moments, these small opportunities throughout the day, throughout our relationships, where we either strengthen trust, or we undermine it Brene Brown talks about these marble jar moments. So what are the small activities that build connection and trust and security, right? So it can be awareness of another person, it can be helpfulness to another person, it can be really listening to concerns. And so I always when I think about trust, especially at work, right, it’s not grand gesture. So I always say, I don’t need you to save me from a burning building, I just need you to turn your report in on time. That’s a big trust builder. So of course, when it comes to trust, and vulnerability, we must be willing to give some trust, and there will be uncertainty there, right? That’s the vulnerability piece. But we’ve got to be willing to give some trust in order to strengthen the relationship and support meaningful work. So I would never recommend giving all of your trust away, right. So trust is not all or nothing. It’s very, very contextual. But you’ve got to be willing to expose yourself a little bit right, that can manage some uncertainty in order to build trust. Okay, so now let’s get to the third question. And this is where I have some solutions for you. And so this question is, how do you build trust? Okay, we’re bought in, we understand what it is, how do you actually do it. And I have got four solutions for you. And these are focused on work. But again, I want you to think about how you can apply them at home. So solution one, the number one way to build trust at work is to ask for help. So that comes to us from the research of Dr. Brene. Brown.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:05
So why is that people are often surprised at that response. But think about it, think about it for yourself. If you’re on the receiving end of someone asking you for help. Usually we really appreciate that. Right? You it helps you to know that the individual respects your skills, right? The individual asking the question doesn’t assume that they know everything that they need to be successful. Then, you know, when we are asked a question, right, it builds trust that you know, someone won’t try and go it alone, that someone won’t try and get in over their head that you’ll ask for help as concerns surface. So it really builds collaboration. And right when we think about the fact that the majority of our work is done on teams, that’s so incredibly important. And so the first solution is ask for help. To ask for help feels so vulnerable. We don’t like to do it. And yet it is the number one trust builder at work. And we like being on the receiving end of questions because we like to be helpful. And it helps us to recognize where someone’s at in their skill development, or where they may need help or where they can contribute to you. So now let’s look at the second solution related to how do you build trust, and that is have an open door policy. So as a leader especially right, but this can apply to everyone, make yourself available. So especially as we think about a hierarchal leader, we need to have availability where your team can come to you with concerns outside of meetings outside of some of the formal channels of communication. So when you have an open door policy or right if we think about office hours, right, so to borrow from from college life, this communicates that you care about the needs of those you leave and You’ll also recognize that concerns will inevitably arise. And that’s not a problem. We also want to appreciate that bringing up concerns in meetings can feel less safe, especially if there is a concern with a colleague in a team meeting. And so we just want to be sensitive about that. And so office hours or an open door policy helps build a culture of trust and openness to understanding concerns, and of course, right like have some good boundaries. Like maybe you don’t always have an open door policy, but you have, you’re intentional about making sure that some of your time each day has an open door policy or an office hour. Okay. So now let’s look at solution three, have clarity about your role, and the roles of those you lead. So as a leader, guide your team in the following ways. So it’s really important to let your team know what they need to do, right? Like, what is the work? What are the expectations, so have clear processes, policies, expectations, metrics, KPIs for success, right, have clear job descriptions, have clear project requirements, outline roles, and responsibilities, all of this creates important support and accountability for your team, to let them know what they need to do. And then the second part is get out of the way. Let your team figure out how they will get the job done. So as a leader, you have a unique responsibility to identify what needs to be done. So what is the work and having a framework for that, but then you need to let your team have some autonomy, right to figure out the details to figure out the how of getting the job done. This is a huge trust builder, right, it also builds confidence, right, that I have some self direction, I can contribute to the team. And so this is one of the reasons why having office hours can be really valuable. Because this in addition to team meetings, can be a great time for your team to seek out additional help, as needed. And so you’re communicating your belief in your team, you’re communicating that you don’t have all the answers, and they might have some great ideas about how they execute on something you are via in a very real way you’re communicating trust.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:24
So then let’s look at the fourth solution for how do you build trust. So the fourth solution is delegate don’t micromanage. Okay, so I want you to think about the fact that you’re building trust whenever you delegate, okay, so think about having a return and report method, of course, and accountability process in place, maybe you have post mortems in place, maybe you have retros. But you’ve got to delegate, this is one of the most important ways that we build trust at work. Plus, you can’t do everything, and you weren’t meant to do everything. And of course, while we’re building trust with delegation, we’re avoiding the control of micromanagement control is a false substitute for trust. When we micromanage. We communicate a lack of trust in our team members, we communicate a lack of trust in our processes, we communicate a lack of trust in our accountability system. And the other thing that happens is, you know, one of the things that might happen is you have an inconsistent use of systems. And this is right like this makes a problem even bigger, because people don’t know what to expect. They don’t know what’s important. They don’t know what’s aligned with vision and what might just be aligned with your mood on a specific day. And so we need to be consistent in our use of accountability. And we need to avoid the false control that comes with micromanagement. So there you go. We talked about three questions. So why, why is it important to understand trust? Why is it important to build trust at work? And then we asked the second question, which is what is trust? And we threw in vulnerability there as well, because that they go hand in hand. And then the third question was, how do you build trust, and I gave you four solutions. So again, number one, ask for help at work. This is the number one way to build trust, to have an open door policy, make yourself available. Number three, have clarity about your role and the roles of those who lead. So as a leader, give them what, but don’t tell them how. Right if they come to you, they want support, that’s great, but we need to have autonomy at work in order to stay motivated. And then the fourth solution is delegate, don’t micromanage This does require a lot of trust and it can be painful at times, but this is why we have a good return and report method in place so that we can identify concerns, see where there are gaps and strengthen the skills. So head on over to my website to check out the show notes with the resources for this episode www.drmelissasmith.com/146-trustquestions. One more time. That’s www.drmelissasmith.com/146-trustquestions. I’m social. I’m on Instagram @dr.melissasmith. I’d love to connect with you there. I’d also so appreciate it if you would consider giving the podcast a review. In the meantime, I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work and love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
Transcribed by https://otter.ai