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Leadership and trust

To trust or not to trust ?

This is from one of my previous coaching conversations
My client is a business leader from the financial services industry
The session was focussed on relationships at workplace
“My team members don’t open up to me very easily” he started off
“I hear about their challenges from other people, but for some strange, they don’t approach me” he continued
“What could be the reason behind this?” I asked him
He paused and thought for a moment
“Probably they don’t trust enough?” he tentatively responded
“Hmm…so what do you want them to do?” I further probed
“I want them to trust me” he answered
As you can see from this conversation, while the core issue was lack of trust, my client was actually trying to project as if it was not his problem

As if, it was the problem of his team members and they need to do something about it
You see….
Trust is a 2-way street
Your teams have to deliver, be transparent and be accountable
No questions about it
But what is your role in building trust with your team members ?
That is the question you should ask yourself

Because it is not just about them. It is about YOU as a leader
When it comes to trust, you can have 3 different approaches :
First Approach
You trust people by default. You start off with trusting others 100%
You don’t unnecessarily doubt them
You believe that people will do what they are supposed to do on their own
You believe that people are trustworthy till they prove otherwise
However, if they break your trust, then you can take a tough stand. The onus then, shifts on them to win your trust back
Second Approach
You don’t trust people to begin with. You start off with 0% trust
You doubt people by default
They have to win your trust over a period of time
You assume that people are not trustworthy till they prove otherwise
This could be based on your own insecurities and past experiences
There is no right or wrong approach – it all depends on your leadership style and experiences
Now in both the above cases, you don’t have to take any action as such
All you need to do is be clear of your stand and act accordingly
The third and probably the most difficult approach
You assume that people don’t trust you and YOU need to win their trust
I say that this is difficult because now, you have to take action
You have win people’s trust by your behavior, your actions and your words
You need to do what you say
And you need to say what you mean
Your intention should be very clear
All your actions and decisions should be aligned towards that intention
You need to be genuine. You need to be authentic
And you need to continue doing the hard work till your people start trust you
So the real question to ask yourself is:
“What can I do to win the trust of my people ?”
Infact, this is equally applicable in personal relationships as well, right ?
“What can you do to build trust in a relationship?”
So here’s your weekly reflection on trust:
1) What is your default position, when it comes to trusting others ?
-Do you trust them by default ?
-Do you not trust them by default ?
-Do you try to win people’s trust ?

2) When it comes to building relationships, what is your biggest challenge in creating trust ?
3) Is there any specific relationship ( personal or professional ) which you would like to work on ?
4) If yes, what are you willing to do about it ? What action can you take immediately ?
5) How far are you willing to go to win trust in that relationship ?


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