Pursue What Matters
Episode 92: Why You Can’t Be Successful at Work Without Trust
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Dr. Melissa Smith 0:00
So can you be successful at work without trusting those you work with? I’m here to tell you that you cannot be successful at work without trusting those you work with. You heard that right? Do you want to know why? Join me.
Dr. Melissa Smith 0:24
Hi, 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? Oh, trust. Trust is such a slippery little thing, isn’t it? Boy, books, songs, so much poems, so much has been written about trust, whether in love or work, man, we get trust wrong all the time. But trust is so incredibly important, not only to our emotional well being, right, it is, after all, the foundation for intimacy and security. But trust is also the seat of creativity and growth. So today, I want to help you see why trust is so critical to success at work and how to get it right. Because sadly, oh, so sad. It’s so heartbreaking. We get trust wrong all the time, at work, and it has disastrous effects on our relationships, on our culture, and our potential for success. As is always the case, every week with the podcast, my goal is to help you pursue what matters and to develop the confidence to lead. I tried to do that in one of three ways, right to help you lead with clarity, lead with curiosity, and lead and build a community. And today primarily, the podcast is focused on helping you lead a community because you cannot lead you cannot build a community without trust it. It is it is what makes community possible. It’s what makes a team effective is all about trust. And so let’s really understand my argument, right? My statement, why you can’t be successful at work without trust, I really do firmly believe that. And and here’s the thing, right? I mean, first of all, there are plenty of organizations that have been successful without trust at work, but they are not as successful as they could be. They’re hampering their growth, they’re hampering their potential. And so that’s the thing that we want to pay attention to, when you don’t have trust at work, you are putting a limiter on your potential, you’re putting a limiter on your growth. And none of us want to do that. None of us want to do that. And yet it happens all the time. And so that’s what we really want to pay attention to.
Dr. Melissa Smith 3:19
So I’m going to first start this conversation by looking at a couple of questions. So first of all, we’re going to look at why does trust matter so much at work, okay? And then we’re going to look at what trust is, and what trust is not. Because as the other thing, people confuse this issue, people confuse what trust is. And so we’re going to look at what trust is, and what trust is not. And, and just help you dig in to the nuance of trust, a little more specifically. And it’s not just a mental exercise. It actually has real implications for you, and your work and the effectiveness of your team and the kind of culture you can build. And then of course, we’re going to do what we always do every week with a podcast, we’re going to give you solutions for building trust at work, practical solutions, that really will make a difference.
Dr. Melissa Smith 4:15
Okay. So that’s what we are going to focus on today. So let’s go to this first question. Why does trust matter so much at work? And trust is the foundation for growth, collaboration, creativity and meaningful contribution. So if you don’t have trust at your foundation, you will not be able to reach your potential. When we don’t have trust. We are in survival mode. We are. We’re watching. We’re watching the horizon. We are assessing our safety, we’re assessing threats. And so you will not be able to accomplish your vision, your purpose, your mission. Without a team that trusts one another, it is as simple as that. And I want to be really clear that this does not mean that you have to be best friends, you don’t have to share all of your secrets with one another. But you do need to be able to count on each other, you need to be able to rely on one another. And so with this podcast, I will in the show notes, I will link to my podcast on psychological safety, as it is a topic that is absolutely related to to today’s topic of trust, but they’re not exactly the same. They’re absolutely related.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:38
But today, I really want to focus on what trust is, and what trust is not and why. Understanding that difference can really make all the difference to the success of your teams and your organizations.
Dr. Melissa Smith 5:51
Okay, so I want to start with this quote, I think it’s a really valuable quote that brings a useful perspective to this conversation. And it echoes the experience that I have had, in my own work. This comes from Charles Feldman. His book is The Thin Book of Trust and Essential Primer for Building Trust at Work. And so he’s talking about why he wrote the book. And this is what he has to say, “this is a small book about a very important subject. A lot has been written about trust about what it is and what it can do for people, families, companies, communities and countries. As an executive coach and consultant, I often find myself engaged by companies where good work is being sabotaged by interpersonal conflict, political infighting, paralysis, stagnation, apathy, or cynicism. I almost always trace these problems to a breakdown in trust. It not only kills Good work, it also inevitably creates some degree of misery, annoyance, fear, anger, frustration, resentment, and resignation. By contrast, in successful companies, where people are innovative, engage in productive conflict, and debate about ideas and have fun working together, I find strong trusting relationships. As a result, I’ve come to believe having the trust of those you work with is too important not to be intentional about building and maintaining it.”
Dr. Melissa Smith 7:24
So that is a perspective from Charles Feldman. He is a executive coach, and consultant. And I think that his perspective is very valuable. And then in a nutshell, he basically says that he can, he can crystallize the challenges and problems of organizations to a lack of trust, and the successes and the growth of organizations to the strength of trust. And I think that there is a lot to that. And so the thing to understand is that when individuals don’t have trust, and psychological safety with one another, they are assessing threats, they are not freed up to do their best work, because they they have to protect themselves. And so that in a very real way shuts down creativity.
Dr. Melissa Smith 8:22
Okay. And so, that’s the short answer for why trust matters so much at work. And now and right, the whole podcast answers that question, but I want to now move to the next point, which is to look at what trust is, and what trust is not. Because like I mentioned before, we confuse what trust is and what trust is not a lot. And it leads to undermining behaviors that leads to a lack of boundaries. And sometimes it can lead to dependence and supporting the behaviors actually, that we do not want to cultivate in those we lead and those we work with. So we want to be careful about this. And it’s so it’s important to understand this.
Dr. Melissa Smith 9:16
So first of all, let’s take a look at what trust is. So trust defined. Let’s look at a few definitions of trust, right? Because there’s not just one grand definition out there. But I think it’s helpful to kind of look at some definitions of trust from a few different perspectives and see where we land. So first of all, let’s take a look at this one. Trust is confidence in the honesty or integrity of a person or thing, okay, so it so often trust is tied to confidence, honesty, integrity, right in in a person or a thing. Another definition here. firm belief in the integrity ability or character of a person or thing, confidence or reliance, right? This idea that I can depend on you, I can count on you, you’re going to show up for me. Another definition, confident expectation, anticipation, or hope. Okay. from Harvard Business Review article. So this is specific to leadership. And this was a study where they looked at the three elements of trust when it comes to leadership. And they identified three key elements that constituted trust. The first one was positive relationships. So one of the foundations for trust building was the ability to cultivate positive relationships. The second one was good at judgment or expertise, right, like you trust someone who knows their stuff. Right? Like they have good judgment, they make good decisions. They, they’re skilled, there, they have expertise. And that is the second element of trust. And then the third element of trust that they found in this study from HBr, was consistency. So these individuals are consistent across situations, they are consistent across time. And that builds trust. And I think that these three elements of trust, now again, this was specific to leadership. But right, like leadership shows up in so many different ways and contexts and areas of life. I think these three elements of trust are really great, they’re really spot on. And the researchers did not find that one of the elements was more important than the other, they found that it was the combination of the three elements. So I want to share those again, because I think that they’re really valuable. And I want you to pay attention to the people you are closest to in your own life, whether that’s personally or professionally, and think about whether the individuals you have the most trust with whether they have these three elements, and the balance between these.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:17
So the first element is positive relationships, right? Like you have positive regard with these people, right? Like you’re not always arguing with them, you’re not always, you know, battling it out with them, it doesn’t mean that you can’t have difficult conversations with them. But generally, you have a positive relationship with them. The second element is good judgment and expertise, right, like you can like you can, you can trust their word, they know what they’re talking about, they make good decisions. And third is consistency, you can count on that. So that really speaks to that reliability piece that we heard about in some of the other definitions.
Dr. Melissa Smith 12:55
So again, I really like those three elements, I think that it really gets to the heart of trust, especially when we think about leadership. So some other definitions and other things to pay attention to when it comes to what trust is. So this comes from Bernie Brown, and some of her research. So when she talks about trust, she speaks about these marble jar moments. And this comes from a story of her daughter, when she she talks about her daughter being in elementary school, and in their class, they had a marble jar, and they would would receive marble jars, they would receive marbles, they would add marbles, to the marble jar, whenever they did kind things for one another small kindnesses, small remembrances, awareness of others care, that sort of thing. And that they had marbles I think were taken out, or they didn’t receive marbles, if there were an kindnesses to one another. And Brene Brown used this example, to make her point about trust and to make the point from her research. And it’s important to keep that in mind. This is based on her research. But she used the marble jar moment just to make her point from the research is that trust is built in small moments in these marble jar moments. And she talks about the example of her daughter and her friends, saving a spot for for her daughter in the lunchroom. That that’s a marble jar moment. And it’s you know, Brene Brown talked about her, her friends, remembering her her parents names when they come to town to visit these small moments, these small kindnesses And awareness of one another. These are trust builders. And this is very similar to the research of john Gottman. He is the foremost researcher on couples and marriage. He is an incredible and not only clinician, but researcher on couples. And he says that trust is built in very small moments, what he calls the sliding door moments and this is based on a movie with granite Paltrow. I think the movie is actually called sliding door. But the sliding door moments are the seemingly inconsequential, everyday moments that make or break most important relationships in our lives.
Dr. Melissa Smith 15:47
Now, of course, Gottman is referencing couples, he’s referencing intimate relationships. But these are absolutely the sliding door moments absolutely apply to our closest relationships at work or work teams. But so right like Gottman is talking about couples. But this also applies to our work relationships. So this is what Gottman said, when your partner does not respond, or they turn away from the bid for connection. So that’s what he means by the bid the bid for connection, you naturally begin to lose trust in them. The reasons for failed connection are often the result of mindlessness, not malice, however, they add up over time, creating complex and all encompassing systems of positive or negative sentiment override. And so the point here, from Gottman, and also from Brene Brown, is that trust is built or eroded slowly over time. Do we notice the other person do we have care and sensitivity to what’s happening for others on our work teams, and this is also the foundation for psychological safety. And so we really want to be paid paying attention to that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 17:11
And then another definition from Charles Feldman, I already shared some perspective from him. He’s the executive coach and consultant. He said that trust is defined as choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions. And think about that, as it as it applies to work. And he’s really talking about trust at work. I mean, we have to do that all the time at work, because the majority of our work is done on teams. And so our success at work always, almost always hinges on the success of others. And so our income potential, you know, our ability to get a raise to be to advance that sort of thing often hinges on the success of others. And so from Feldman, what is trust, there are many different models and definitions of trust in the published literature. However, the focus of this book, so right again, that book, the thin book of trust, is defined as choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person’s actions. When you trust someone, what you make vulnerable can range from concrete things such as money, a job, a promotion, or a particular goal, to less tangible things like a belief, you hold a cherished way of doing things, your good name, or even your sense of happiness, and well being, whatever you choose to make vulnerable to the others actions, you do so because you believe their actions will support it, or at the very least, will not harm it. And so that’s really, you know, the key when we think about work, trust is important because you I mean, you’re putting your livelihood in another person’s hands in very many cases. And so it’s not a small thing.
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:02
And then one last thing from Feldman, he said, the disaster of distrust in the workplace is that the strategies people use, to protect themselves inevitably get in the way of their ability to effectively work with others. So when we protect ourselves from trust, we actually it makes it much harder to to work with one another. Okay, so there are some definitions of trust. So hopefully, that gives you a good idea of what trust is. The next thing that I want to talk about when we’re you know, kind of wrapping our arms around trust and getting, getting a clearer understanding of it, is this idea that trust and vulnerability go hand in hand.
Dr. Melissa Smith 19:53
Okay, so you cannot have trust without vulnerability and you cannot have vulnerability without trust, okay, so they work hand in hand in stepwise fashion. So they go, they just go right together. So if you wait to be vulnerable until you trust someone, you will never be vulnerable. So you build trust with someone by taking the risk of being vulnerable. And so it’s always kind of scary, right? Like you’re always taking a risk. And that’s how you know it’s vulnerability. And so again, trust is built in those small moments, a million small acts today when we choose vulnerability over guardedness. And so that’s really the key. Do you choose vulnerability over guardedness? And that’s that step wise building of trust, and trust and vulnerability going hand in hand.
Dr. Melissa Smith 20:51
So right think about the marble jar moments think about the sliding door moments. And you know, so when we think about this as it relates to work, right, the example would be, you know, I do not need you to save me from a burning building, I just need you to turn your report in on time. That is how you build trust at work. Right? This is how you build trust at work. And so one of the best ways to think about building this trust, and this the small moments, right comes from Brene Browns research. And of course, he has a great acronym to help us remember the details of this. She uses the acronym BRAVING trust. And so breathing is an acronym to really help you remember the elements that helps you to build trust. Now this can be applied outside of work, but it’s really so very applicable at work. And of course, that’s what we’re going to pay attention to. So braving the B stands for boundaries. So right we have boundaries with one another we respect boundaries, we respect to Yes, we respect to know. R is reliability. And reliability is all about being able to count on one another. Right? So I don’t need you to save me from a burning building. I just need you to turn your report on report in on time. And so that is absolutely trust, it has absolutely reliability, Can I count on you. And then A is accountability. Are you going to do what you say you will do. And think about your work teams. If we don’t have accountability, we have nothing. And accountability is a big part of building trust, and building safety building that psychological safety and that security on a team. And then V is vault. And vault means that what you share with an individual is kept in a vault is kept safe. So you do not share information that is not yours to share. And that really is the standard by which you need to hold information. So this is where we do not we do not gossip, we do not back channel. So that is the term that Brene Brown uses. But back channeling would be the meeting after the meeting that would be talking about a project or a concern about someone but not talking directly to the person sharing information that’s not yours to share. Talking about someone behind their back all of that breaks, trust, all of that undermines trust. And so vault means that you you know that you hold in a vault, what other people have shared with you and you do not share information that is not yours to share. Because obviously that erodes trust in huge ways. And then I is integrity. All right, that you are a person of your word. You’re honest. You’re honest in word and deed. And that is unfortunately like that can be more of a challenge than we might think. But you are a person of your word. You’re honest in word and deed. Okay, and then N is non judgment. And so when I think about non judgment, I really think about empathy, which is seeking understanding and seeking the perspective of the other person. And when we think about empathy, and perspective seeking, it’s really important to understand that empathy does not mean agreement. So you don’t need to agree With someone in order to not judge them to, in order to not judge someone doesn’t mean that you need to agree with them. Those are two different things. But non judgement to be able to accept someone. There’s a difference between accepting and approving of someone, we don’t care about approval, like, let go of that, because that moves you into judgment. But seeking empathy and understanding is really what you want to pay attention to with non judgment. And then G is generosity. And when I think about generosity, I think about giving good intent, you know, we all want good intent. we all we all want others to give us good intent. And so generosity is really about also giving good intent to others, assuming good intent, assuming when someone, you know, isn’t able to get their report in time, assuming that they have good intent and seeking understanding before you move into judgment, and definitely refraining from judgment in those cases. And so I think that that braving trust acronym, from Brene Brown’s research can be very helpful because it gets it actually gets very specific and actionable. In terms of helping you know, what does trust look like, in your organization? What does trust look like actually on your team, because it can give you some really nice guidance there.
Dr. Melissa Smith 26:32
Okay, so now, as we think about trust and vulnerability, going hand in hand, I just want to say a little bit more about defining vulnerability. So vulnerability is uncertainty, risk, and emotional exposure. And that comes from Bernie Brown, who is really the the researcher who has taught us so much about vulnerability, and then also shame. So here’s the thing about vulnerability, it’s always going to feel uncomfortable, it’s always going to feel uncertain, there’s always going to be risk. And here’s the thing, that’s how you know it’s vulnerable. So if you are trying, if you’re trying to work, the risk and the discomfort out of vulnerability, it is no longer vulnerability. So it’s, whenever you’re doing vulnerability, there’s going to be the discomfort, okay, so you just, you just gotta lean into it. And this is where distress tolerance skills come in. It’s okay, this is, this is what you showed up for, this is how life works. This is how relationships work. This is how trust building works, it doesn’t mean you’re doing it wrong, you’re probably doing it just right. The other thing from Brene Brown’s, Dare To Lead research, which I think is so fascinating. And most people, it this result actually very much surprises people. But the number one way to build trust at work, is to ask for help. And that includes all of you leaders. So one of the misperceptions that a lot of leaders have is that they feel like they need to have all the answers.
Dr. Melissa Smith 28:11
They feel like they need to be the one you know, leading from the front. And, you know, being kind of the picture of call, and having having a game plan for everything, and having everything figured out for their team. And don’t get me wrong. Like, I’m not saying that you should be a hot mess. For those who lead like you should have a plan and all of that good stuff. But it doesn’t mean you know, everything, it doesn’t mean you have all the answers. And what we know from the Dare To Lead research, which investigated 1000s of leaders across the globe, is that the number one way to build trust at work is to ask for help, and that people respect their leaders more when the leaders are willing to ask for help. And why do you think that is? I mean, if you just think about that for a minute, it actually makes sense. Because asking for help is an act of trust. And it’s an act of vulnerability. And it you know, it actually is encouraging because it communicates that if you need help, you will ask. It communicates that you’re not overconfident, you won’t try and go it alone, which we know can be incredibly dangerous. It’s also saying, Hey, I have trust in the team. And I respect the team. And I respect everything that you write, whether it’s an individual that you’re asking for help, or members of the team that you’re asking for help. I respect the value that you bring to me and to the organization and to this team. right because otherwise like why do you have a team If you’re not willing to ask for help, and to acknowledge that you can’t go it alone, and that you were never meant to go it alone. And so you’ve got to be willing to ask for help. Because you don’t know at all. And it is a huge trust builder.
Dr. Melissa Smith 30:19
So even with our closest relationships, we have vulnerability. So if you don’t believe that, try telling your partner something really difficult, you’ll, you’ll get that pit in your stomach. And if you have never had that, you better examine your relationship. In fact, you might have the most vulnerability in those relationships that you’re that you’re closest to, that you’re most invested in. And this is why, because you have the most to lose in those relationships, you’ve invested more in those relationships than anywhere else, you’ve trusted more there, they can hurt you more, they’ve got more dirt on you, than anyone else, you’ve risked more, right? And you can, you can be hurt more. And so vulnerability is a function of trust. And so right, we are always doing a dance between trust and vulnerability. It’s not something vulnerability isn’t something we get past ever. As long as we’re doing relationships, honestly. We will always have, we will always have vulnerability, we will always have trust. And I’ll say this, we will always have trust issues. And that’s not necessarily a bad thing. It’s a dance. It’s always a dance that you’re working with.
Dr. Melissa Smith 31:54
So let’s talk about what trust is not. So trust is not binary. Alright, so trust is not all or nothing. It’s not like okay, now I trust you. Versus Nope, now I don’t trust this person. Because right, remember what I just said? Like trust is a dance. It’s a continuous dance, always in every relationship. So instead of thinking about trust as a binary thing, like okay, now I trust this person, like they’ve passed the test. Now I trust them. I would say, Don’t ever do that. That is such a dangerous game, because here’s the thing you just don’t know. And that’s not a cynical view. It’s just that’s not how trust works. Trust is actually contextual trust depends on the context. Trust depends on the situation. Trust actually depends more on the context and the situation than it even does the person. The person is part of that context. But it’s even more than the person. So rather than asking the question, can I trust you? Which I think is often the question that people ask. I don’t think that’s a great question. I think it’s an okay question. I think the better question is, can I trust you with this?
Dr. Melissa Smith 33:16
Can I trust you with this part of my heart? Can I trust you with this news? Can I trust you with this fear? Right, trust is not binary. Trust is not all or nothing. Trust is contextual. Trust is always a dance, with vulnerability, always, always, always. Okay. The other thing that we want to talk about in terms of what trust is not trust is not control. So let’s talk a little bit about trust versus control. Control is a false substitute for trust. When we have difficulty trusting ourselves or others, we rely on the false security of control.
Dr. Melissa Smith 34:02
We must remember that control is simply an illusion. It is fleeting, and it is false. Control is a way to hijack trust, but it never works out for real meaningful connection, because the necessary ingredient is missing. Which is what control hijacks trust because the the necessary ingredient of vulnerability is always missing. Control is a false substitute for trust. What else right what trust is not trust is not reassurance. So let’s talk about trust versus reassurance. You’ve got to respect the difference between trust and reassurance. Now this is something that a lot of leaders get wrong. Especially during times of uncertainty. So as a leader, it’s not your job to provide reassurance to those you lead.
Dr. Melissa Smith 35:12
Now, some of you might disagree with me, and that’s okay, I stand by this all day long. So I want to be really clear that a great leader will naturally provide reassurance to those she or he leads, but it is not your job to provide reassurance to those who lead. So what do I mean by that? What is your job? Your job is actually to build trust with those you lead. And there’s a big difference between reassurance and trust. So reassurance can be very fleeting, it can be false. And there are no guarantees. When we think especially if times of uncertainty like you know, maybe the last year, have any of you been able to provide any guarantees, that you will be able to keep your businesses open, that people will make their quotas that you’ll be able to grow your business, that you’ll retain your customer base? Probably not, you’ve probably not been able to provide any guarantees. And I know I haven’t been able to provide any of these reassurance, reassurance as to those that I lead despite my desperate desire to do so.
Dr. Melissa Smith 36:38
So the point is that we must resist the urge to reassure those who lead if you don’t know something, tell your people you don’t know, this is actually a trust builder. This actually builds what is sustainable trust, resist the urge to provide false reassurance, it’s often coming from a good place, but it is so undermining because here’s the thing, you cannot guarantee your reassurance. And at the end of the day, it actually weakens the trust with those you lead. So there’s two double there’s there’s two big whammies here, right, two big downsides. It weekends, it weakens you as a leader, because your people don’t trust you. When you provide false reassurances, when your reassurance fails to pass, bam, fails to pan out. You have just weakened your leadership, you have just weakened the trust in you as a leader. And the second big downside is that it weakens those you lead because they have put their trust in you. They’ve put their trust in something outside of them.
Dr. Melissa Smith 38:02
And so when it doesn’t pan out, they are left weaker as a result to major downside do not do it. It’s so undermining. And I said that this mostly comes from good intentions, right like this giving a false reassurance. It mostly comes from good intentions, we want to help those we lead feel better about an uncertain situation. But here is the shadow side of that. We may also want to be the hero. And you’ve got to resist wanting to be the hero. Your team doesn’t need a hero, they need a leader, they need you to be honest with them about the reality you face. They need you to tell them the truth, tell it like it is that is what builds trust. That is what builds real trust. So you need to respect those you lead by giving them the truth. They’re not fragile and you respect your team when you trust them to carry the reality as a team member. Now of course the portion of the load they carry is going to depend on their role at the organization, but trust them by communicating honestly with them. So if you don’t know you don’t know don’t give false reassurance. A great leader provides reassurance naturally but it’s not your job. And your job is to build trust by communicating directly and honestly about the challenges you face. And that’s really the work. We have an incredible example of this from Vice Admiral James Stockdale, what has come to be known as the Stockdale paradox. So in 1965 Stockdale was shot down in Vietnam, and was taken to the infamous Hanoi Hilton where he would spend seven and a half years as a POW Four of which were spent in solitary confinement. As a senior ranking naval officer. He imposed strict military discipline on the others. He used secret codes and created official stories and events that the men could use under torture to prevent that they’re giving away of military secrets.
Dr. Melissa Smith 40:22
He also, you know, provided morale boosting experiences for the men, and even beat himself to avoid being used in propaganda films. And many of the POW is credited Stockdale, specifically for for their survival. And years later, upon his release, release after many years after he was released, Jim Collins, the great business writer, interviewed Stockdale about his experience in the POW prison. And Collins asked him, you know, tell me who didn’t make it out of the prisons. And Stockdale’s answer came swift, he did not pause at all. And he said, “That’s easy. The optimists, they were the ones who said, we’re going to be out by Christmas, and Christmas would come and Christmas would go. And then they’d say, we’re going to be out by Easter and Easter would come and Easter would go, and then Thanksgiving, and then it would be Christmas again, and they died of a broken heart”. This is a very important lesson. And this is from Stockdale. “Again, you must never confuse faith that you will prevail in the end, which you can never afford to lose with the discipline to confront the most brutal facts of your current reality, whatever they might be.” And that has come to be known as the Stockdale paradox, with significant application to businesses that, you know, as a leader, you must be very realistic about the realities that you face, and you need to be honest and truthful with your team. And, and yet, at the same time, you cannot abandon faith that you will see it through, and that you owe that to your team. And that this is how you build trust. And this is how you build strength of character to see yourself and to see your organization through these incredibly difficult times. And I think it is a powerful lesson for all of us in terms of what trust is, versus false reassurance.
Dr. Melissa Smith 42:34
And so now, now that we know what trust is, and what trust is not, let’s talk specifically from what we’ve learned about some solutions for building trust at work. So this is based on everything that we’ve talked about. But I really want you to have some actionable items to help you to help your teams. So first, let’s lean into vulnerability. I know like take a deep breath, and let’s lean in. This is why you showed up. This is why you’re on the planet. This is how we do relationships. So this is actually what leading people and life by the way, is all about lean in and lap it up. Right? It is risky, it is uncomfortable, it is scary. But this is how you know you’re living. This is this is why you showed up. This is what it’s all about. Ask for help. It builds trust, confidence doesn’t mean you have all the answers. If you think it does, let’s help you rethink what it means to lead. So asking for help, can be a powerful trust builder. Don’t mistake control for trust. So are you managing your relationships or actually connecting with those you work with? So you know, chances are you don’t like being controlled, and neither do those you work with. So let’s just pay attention to that.
Dr. Melissa Smith 44:00
And so when you notice a tendency toward controlling behavior, I would just invite you to take a step back and ask yourself, What am I feeling anxious or stressed about? Ask how can I seek understanding and then do your own work first and always so you know, here I would just say focus on your own stress coping skills, instead of trying to control those around you. Often when our control tendencies come up, it’s because we’re feeling stressed out. And that you know, if you notice the control tendencies coming up, instead of you know, focusing on controlling others you got to you got to point us that mirror and point it back at you and do some of your own stress coping skills like you got some work to do and it’s not directed at other people. And the next thing so you know, we first is lean into vulnerability second is our For help, three, don’t mistake control for trust. And I’ve got several things there to help you. And then the fourth one is to resist the urge to provide false reassurance, right? We just talked about that. Resist the urge to be a hero, when you’re talking about something right, like risks or the path ahead, a difficult decision stick to the facts. So provide updates and be transparent. But don’t get out over your skis, for those of you who are skier so I’m a big skier, I’ve been skiing since I was a young child, you don’t ever want to get out over your skis because you’re going to end up in a snowdrift. So you just don’t overshoot. be transparent. If you don’t know you don’t know, and just stick with the facts.
Dr. Melissa Smith 45:48
And then the fifth one is to follow the Stockdale paradox and to retain faith while facing the reality and share this with your team share trust with your team and share leadership with your team. That is, that’s a big trust builder. And with this, you know, you want to follow Bernie Browns recommendation that everyone on a team must carry both gritty faith and gritty facts during challenging times. So it’s not the case that some people on a team get to be the optimistic cheerleaders, while other members of the team are the gloom and doom, a number of carriers.
Dr. Melissa Smith 46:29
So everyone on a team are responsible for carrying both gritty faith and gritty facts. And that’s really important for the strength of the team. And then six is to focus on small opportunities to build trust, right, so these marble jar moments and sliding door moments. And you know, part of this is we cultivate trust by focusing on what actually makes a difference on teams. So if you will recall the braving trust acronym from Bernie Brown. So if we think about boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault integrity, non judgment and generosity, these questions of Can I count on you the question of, can you count on me? Are we in this together, and small moments that make all the difference, and that will see you through the challenging times. And you know, when I think about these small moments, I also think about having fun together, you know, being able to connect socially. And I think that that is something that we need to be even more proactive about these days, especially if you have folks working remotely, which you know, honestly, probably a lot of you are still working remotely. And so small moments can include the social connection, I think, actually, that’s a really big part of that. And so just being mindful of that. So there you go. We have six solutions for building trust based on what we’ve what we’ve learned about today. And so I hope that you will consider heading over to my website to check out the shownotes with all the great resources for this episode at www.drmelissasmith.com/trustatwork. One more time. That’s www.drmelissasmith.com/trustatwork. I’m Dr. Melissa Smith. Remember love and work, work in love. That’s all there is. Until next time, take good care.
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