“I keep my guard up. I don’t trust easily. So how can I build trust with my team?”

by | Apr 5, 2022

I’ve had leaders I’ve coached confess this to me.

I first congratulate them for knowing that TRUST is ESSENTIAL to leading a team effectively. That’s step one.

Step two is learning how to trust in a healthy way, so that you and your team can thrive in the area of relationships and results. Yep, this one’s a bit harder.

So, if this is you too, I’m here to help. I’ll ask you a few questions—just like I would one of my clients—so you can explore more of the “why” behind your reluctance to trust people.

FIRST, why do you ‘choose’ not to extend trust to others? (It is a ‘choice’ by the way.) Why do you choose to keep your guard up?

SECOND, what is the benefit to you and to others of staying ‘armored up’? What is the potential cost of doing so?

THIRD, do you see trust as all or nothing? Or do you see it more like a bank account—either starting with a zero balance, with a small balance, or with a large balance? Do you offer people a certain balance (amount of trust) up-front, or do they have to earn every bit of it that you give them?

FOURTH, where can you be more open and vulnerable in order to model trustworthiness? I know, it’s uncomfortable and a little scary. Maybe a LOT scary. But it’s the first step to building trust with your team. And sometimes that looks like giving others a bit more in their trust bank account than they’ve actually earned.

FIFTH, are you and your team clear on what the definition of trust really is? Have you explored, discussed, and defined what trust means to each of you as well as the behaviors that build and/or break trust?

Stephen MR Covey defines trust in two categories: a person’s ‘character’ and their ‘competence’. It is essential that you and your team are on the same page about what healthy trust looks like.

When we work with leadership teams, we facilitate a process where a team examines their collective definition of trust and then evaluates where they are in relation to that definition…where they are excelling and where they need/want to improve.

If this is a process that you think may be helpful for you and your team, Contact me! I’d love to talk with you about how we can help.

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