Building Trust in a More Disconnected World – Gerry Lynch

"Can you think about the people you trust the most and the ones you would n’t touch with a bargepole?   The extremes probably come to mind; what is it about someone you trust so much that has built that trust?  And what is it about someone you do not trust that has led to that?

My guess is that the people you trust have built that by getting to know you and also sharing who they really are,  they have not built it by just focusing on your work performance.

A few years ago I was coaching a leader and he was complaining that his team never opened up to him, he said he had tried lots of different ways of questioning but ‘it is like getting blood from a stone’.   I asked him ‘Have you ever opened up to them, shared something personal, shown some vulnerability?’   The answer was ‘no’.  I then asked him ‘Why would someone open up to you, their boss, when you don’t open up to them?’.  He thought about this and realised that that made sense.

The next time he was out with one of his team in the car he shared something about his family, something that was a little bit personal and he said he was amazed that his team member started sharing about one of their challenges in his life outside of work – it changed the relationship for the better from that point.

I have also observed leaders who focus solely on work at work, surely you are saying ‘that’s the point isn’t it?’  But getting to know your people is your key work, as that builds trust,  and is the foundation of a relationship; finding out about their weekend or holiday, asking about their wife/husband/kids, shows that you take an interest in them as a person, not just them as an employee.   There is a great analogy about a marble jar, trust gets built one marble at a time, imagine every time you take the time to appreciate, ask about, recognise, have coffee with, a marble is being put in the jar,  the more marbles you have in the jar the higher the trust – But remember, damaging that trust is like breaking the jar!

In a more remote world it becomes harder to connect than face to face, but there is no reason you can’t use the first 5 minutes of your zoom meeting to find out about your team, how they are doing, their weekend – Technology should not be an excuse to continuing to build trust one marble at a time."

By Gerry Lynch – Managing Director of The Real Leadership Company.

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