I remember shortly after I started working for a large organization, I was invited to meet with the CEO, who was my acting supervisor at the time. We spoke about the organization, the communities we serve and other foundational matters. The one line that resonated immensely with me (so much so, that if I were to close my eyes, I can still see the color of shirt he had on) went like this…
“We extend trust here. 100% trust.” Then the next lines went along the lines of (this isn’t verbatim, rather the message of what stuck with me) “trust that the person you are speaking with, leading, working alongside is doing good things to the best of their ability. For the most part, people are good. They want to do good. There are times when direction is needed, but that doesn’t mean that the course can’t be corrected. We don’t diminish that trust unless something happens to affect it. And if it does, we work on rebuilding.”
I’m going to unpack this a little bit for those who think “pffft that means I’ll get snowballed every chance I get”. If you’re in that camp, well, I was too (to some degree). I was worried that if I extended too much trust, I’d be taken for a ride, be perceived as gullible, and somehow lose any power of position that I may have. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Here is what it means, and what the results are, when you extend trust.
Trust builds empowerment. When we extend trust, we are empowering that person that we lead or work with to pull out their ‘A-game’, to show you what they are capable of. Imagine that state. Think of what could be possible that you may never have uncovered if trust wasn’t extended.
Trust stops the micro-management. When we can trust that the work being done is getting to the positive endpoint, we don’t need to micro-manage every step of the way (warning – this can be tough if their path to the endpoint is different than the way you’d have done it – but if the ending is the same, does it matter that they did it differently than you would have?). Should you provide guidance and check-ins along the way to show and provide support? Absolutely. Just remember, allowing that person to do the job you hired them for will free up your time and mental capacity to do what you were hired to do.
Trust equates to dollars. If you need to audit everything once, then twice, or at whatever frequency, how much does that delay the timing of the project (aka money)? How much human resource time goes into those audits (aka money)? Now, don’t get me wrong, in some cases audits are essential. What you need to do is determine the essentialism of the audit versus understanding if this is a micro-management audit.
Trust builds teams. When you are in leadership, the load is a heavy one (hence the phrase ‘heavy is the head that wears the crown’). Lean into your team, and with a foundation of trust you will garner a perspective of the challenge that you may not have seen on your own. How much more effective will you be in making decisions? How much more engaged will your team feel in working with and alongside you? When things get tough, there is no one better to have your back.
So, how are you doing here? Is it time to do a check-in on your trust-scale? Is there work that could be done? How are you at feeling with extending that trust?
You might find that some internal dialogue and a check-in can go a long way. And if you need a boost or helping hand, a book I recommend is “The Speed of Trust” written by Stephen M. Covey. It can really bring things into perspective.
Keep on being amazing,
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Cheers to the beginning of a great relationship.