Have you found that when a leader stands up and speaks about trust the reaction is not always as warm as first thought?

Guest blog by Paul Russell, Amplifier

Have you found that when a leader stands up and speaks about trust the reaction is not always as warm as first thought?

I wonder if this is not because people do not realise the importance of trust but because they are not tuned into the language used. As children trust was transmitted to us by parents and family largely through actions not just words. We we would be told not to go near an open fire but also shown through actions.

I had a chance recently to lead a sales group on the subject of high-performance trusted teams and considered the Patrick Lencioni dysfunctions of a team model. I reflected on the language used by Lencioni and then looked out across the room and told them a story.

It was my story of a time where I was being part of a dysfunctional team (with bad outcomes ) that I wasn’t aware I was.

Relatively new in role I sat in the innovation space of the business and had an idea that would speed up the delivery of programmes. I worked in the construction and engineering industry. I had ‘seduced’ my peer on the management team to buy into my technology vision and had my business partners firmly behind me.

All was well until it wasn’t. What was a marriage made in heaven soon became a house of cards and through my failure to understand how trust worked in my organisation the result was disastrous? A lesson I reflect on that was nothing to do with technology and all to do with me. I had swopped positive trust with arrogance and ego which led to unhealthy conflict, shaky commitment and accountability and a bad result. It meant the road project my colleagues were working on got delayed (because of me) and a hefty fine was issued by our customer to which I had to recover.

I told this story because I wanted them to feel trust – or the lack of it.

And shortly after the room slowly started to tell stories about trust and that was where we wanted them to be.

You see the language of trust is often far away from the day job even though it is implicit. By using stories, it fires up the hormones and reframes what we could have done differently and how we can look to develop habits to increase trustworthiness in our relationships.

If a game of snakes and ladders, we are all committed to race up the ladders to win the game but can easily slip down the snakes if we don’t pay attention to trust.

As an Amplifier for the Amplified Group, I encourage people to dust off the virtue we all have – empathy.

Why? It is our ace in the pack and when firing in any team can achieve amazing things.

Taking time to listen, accept you might not have all the answers and encourage others to say ‘I don’t know’ is like building the strongest ladder possible.

If you’re interested to learn more about Patrick Lencioni’s methodology, we recommend reading The Five Dysfunctions of a Team.

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