Field of Dreams, anyone? This is one of the greatest stories ever on leaving your comfort zone, building something you’re not quite sure about, and trusting the results will come. What might you reap if you sow this thing we call trust?

What you might have gathered from our first post in this series is that, chances are, you have a trust problem on your team. Our part two post illustrates some of the ways this problem came to be. Today we want to dive into how you fix it, now that you know it’s a problem?

“Without trust we don’t truly collaborate, we merely coordinate or, at best, cooperate. It is trust that transforms a group of people into a team.” 

-Steven Covey, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People

Transform is a big word…it’s defined as “thorough and dramatic change.” And when we think of the times we’ve seen this with clients (we’re talking total team transformation), we are reminded of some really strong, B-A leaders who took the reins, put pride aside, and made this whole trust thing, the most important thing. You might not want this enough, or have it in you, but there are people watching to see if you do. Feel heavy? It’s just like all of the other elephants you’re dealing with. Take it one bite at a time:

  1. Talk about it. As with any other thing in life, addressing it head-on gets you further faster. Not only does it break down the walls (quickly), you end up gaining the respect you want and we KNOW this matters to you.
  2. Invite them in. Let your team members know that this is on your radar and you are genuinely curious about how to make this better. Since it’s not been a safe environment to contribute, they may not accept the invite. But keep asking, and reward the behavior with validation and change.
  3. Own your mistakes. There’s that vulnerability thing again. When you make a mistake, when your company does – tell your team early. Note: there is a way to do this well. Putting your pride aside creates a humility and authenticity people TRUST. A prideful message fueled by fear will backfire. 
  4. Don’t highlight theirs. Create a culture of celebration. You want people to do better? Tell them what they’re doing WELL. Positive reinforcement goes so much further than the alternative. When mistakes arise, and they WILL, have direct and honest conversations individually with those people, modeling vulnerability, yourself.
  5. Connect with everyone. This Forbes article on building trust says “If you are a CEO or VP and you’re not spending half your time with non-leadership employees, you are missing out.”  Your internal teams are your greatest asset. They want to see you beyond your title and learn from your leadership. 

We see so many leaders who think their culture is “FINE”…minor issues, but they typically chalk it up to poor employees. Two things here: 

Are you okay with fine? Just checking.

Who hired those people? Right – you or someone else. 

As a leader, the responsibility falls on you – the perks AND the expectation to work it out. Quit playing the blame game and do something about the culture you are (actively) building, whether you know it or not. We promise that “better” you keep looking for.


If this is you and you are feeling the urge to make a difference, our Leadership by Design workshop is for you. We will challenge you to the next level, push you to dig deeper, and motivate you to show up so differently that people notice. LBD is for “thinking leaders” who want to effect change and create impact, otherwise, we’re probably not for you.


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