Archives for 2017

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When in Rome…

Managing people across cultural divides

We recently had the privilege of travelling to the beautiful Italian town of Cremona near Milan to deliver the people management aspect of a new business management qualification there.

Given how often we get asked whether challenges are the same across Europe / the World and how much cultural difference needs to be considered, we thought we would share our findings and reflections:

Even in a more direct, ‘say what you think’ culture, feedback is still a problem.  Feedback is not simply about telling someone what you think of them, it’s critical that the message is understood and the individual wants to change their behaviour.

Helping delegates consider what outcome they wanted and then use better questioning to find out what reaction someone was having to the feedback, made the difference here, just like it does in the UK and every other country we have worked in, including the US and Asia.  And that backs up our learning from our previous escapades here…

People Management is not for everyone and we would all do better to acknowledge this.  Just as financial management is not for everyone and we build coping mechanisms around that, how do we do the same for people management?

One delegate realised he could make better use of someone in his team who is far better at the honest conversations.  It may not be a perfect solution, but it’s a start.

Accountability for behaviour change is the greatest challenge.  This is a battle we fight on every programme – how to help delegates change their behaviour back in the workplace.

A hugely helpful move here has been to share stories from people who have been through the programme before, tried, failed, learned from experience and succeeded.

In Italy, we closed the programme with delegates showing a more realistic outlook on what they could do and what they couldn’t, working in tune with their reality.

Whilst it is comforting to know we are not alone with our learning challenges in the UK, this begs the question, why are these issues so prevalent?  The answer appears to be a lack of quality and quantity of focused on-the-job learning in these areas.

Take on any other new task: using new software, introducing a new process or system, taking on budget management for the first time, and there are guides to follow and people to ask.  When it comes to considering our suitability for people management and working out how to have difficult conversations, there tends to be less structure.

There are fewer “how-to guides” available and most line managers will not initiate a conversation with the individual in their team about their skills and confidence in people management.  Why should they?  Who did that for them?

This is an opportunity for all of us in learning, to help managers take on these conversations, so that new managers can be better prepared in their roles.

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To Sell is Human

From the bestselling author of Drive and A Whole New Mind…

Comes a new book that explores the power of selling in our lives.

In his fantastic book, To Sell is Human, Daniel Pink highlights that “1 in 9 people work in sales.  So do the other 8.”  His point is that we all have an aspect of selling or influencing to our roles now – so selling skills are not reserved for those 1 in 9 who have sales in their job titles.

The challenge here is that most of us do not really consider our roles to involve selling. But Daniel Pink successfully argues that simply isn’t the case.  His research found that 8 out of every 9 people do some sort of sales in their jobs.  Regardless of what they do.

Pink describes how sales and non-sales selling are ultimately about service.  That to sell our ideas, our resources or our time to another we have to “move” others – not out of the way, but emotionally – causing someone to feel “moved.”  That’s most likely to happen when you do two things: make it personal, and make it purposeful.

Pink sets out “a broad rethinking of sales as we know it.” He examines what sales mean now and in the future. He also gives us a new definition of the sales classic: ABC.  Instead of the mantra “Always Be Closing,” Pink suggests “Attunement, Buoyancy and Clarity.”

Attunement is “the ability to blend one’s actions and outlook into harmony with other people.”

Buoyancy is “the quality that combines grittiness of spirit and sunniness of outlook.” To be buoyant means to apply three components before, during and after any effort to move others.

Clarity is “the capacity to make sense of murky situations.” To create clarity, you first need to find the right problems to solve, then drill down to the core of the problem and compare it to other problems so that people have a frame of reference. Finally, you need to find an “off-ramp,” which Pink defines as providing a clear directive for people to act – or the traditional “call to action.”

Here are our top three 3 takeaways from the book:

Almost half of your time at work is spent in non-sales selling, which is really just trying to move others.  Acknowledging this and considering how you develop your influencing skills can be hugely beneficial.

Honesty and service are taking over sales, because the internet has closed the information gap.  This means that just providing information is no longer the focus in sales, because people can look up that information online.  Service and trust built through honesty are more important now than ever before.

Use “Yes, and…” when talking to customers to make sure they stay positive and engaged.  This comes from the realisation that people stop listening when they disagree and they start planning their response when they hear someone disagrees with them.  If your ‘customer’ or person you are influencing gets the impression you disagree, for example when you say “no,” or “yes, but…” then you could lose them.  Stay more positive and your customer will do the same.

If the thought of developing your sales skills seems a little daunting, fear not.  We have two fabulous resources to get you started.  The Trusted Advisor Model and The Challenger Sale download.

And as always, follow the image below to buy a copy of this fabulous book!

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Cultural Differences?

Tomato1 400x265

You say tom-ay-toe, we say…

Are cultural differences across the globe a problem?  Do they stop global Learning or Organisation Development programmes from working?

We often get asked about training for people working across cultures: “Can you give me guidance on how to work with our teams in Latin America?  I’m going to China for work, what advice can you give me?

And having been asked these questions for so many years, even though we’re not experts on cultural differences – we’ve tried to be as helpful as possible.  We’ve always said “that’s not our area of expertise, but here’s a suggestion you could try…”  But does our advice work?

So having spent the past few weeks working with people from the UK, Germany, Mexico, Brazil, Singapore, China, The Philippines, The US and Australia, we’re pretty chuffed to report back – yes, it works!

Totem Gummi Bears

The key learning point for us (with this and in most of life) is simply… to not make assumptions

Or rather to question the assumptions we immediately make.  When a delegate highlights that “this approach won’t work in x location”, we have simply asked what makes them think that and what might make it work better.

And when we introduce an idea that we know works well in the UK, we ask, “how might that work for you?  What challenges might you face with this in your workplace?  How could you make this work better for you?”

These are the same questions we ask regardless of cultural differences, and they work because they put the ownership on the individual to explain the cultural challenges and importantly, explore how to overcome them.

Why does this approach work? 

It is worth remembering that our brains crave control: we do not like uncertainty or a feeling that we are not controlling a situation.  So going to work in a different culture, where our usual patterns of working and set expectations of how conversations go are challenged, can be very uncomfortable.

So we try to control the situation by coming up with theories and ideas on how to adapt and fit.  The problem is that our theories will be based on our culture and assumptions, so can often miss the mark.  Asking another person, “how do you think this could work here?” Or “how can we adapt this idea so it works?” Brings multiple benefits.

– you gain insight from someone who knows the culture better than you

– that person feels valued and appreciates that you want their opinion

– you make the process collaborative, building trust and helping you better understand the culture

– you avoid making inappropriate assumptions that backfire

So here’s our suggestion, stop worrying about what difference culture might make and simply ask the question.

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Honesty. Responsibility.

It’s always great when research backs up what you intuitively know to be true!

Last week we heard about some research showing that the most important aspect that made a business a great place to work was honest and responsible conversations.

Frankly that’s exciting for a number of reasons, including:

Yet more evidence to challenge managers on the need for honesty

This is particularly challenging because the research showed honesty was required in all directions for a workplace to be rated highly and have good retention, so managers need to be as comfortable receiving those challenging comments as dishing them out.

This is a call to us all to be better at showing a bit of tough love and welcome the tough love that’s likely to come back at us.  The stories of managers being uncomfortable giving feedback are almost as prolific as the stories of staff who can’t tell their manager that things are not working as well as they could be.

Potential talent looking at your business wants to know that honesty is welcome

Not everyone is comfortable with honesty and seeking it from their next employer, but high-flyers who have grown up in a supportive work environment will expect it as the norm.  How can you attract the best talent if you cannot offer that same environment?

Some people need to know that they will be trusted to have honest conversations with their peers and manager.  Is that the case in your business?

Also, how much of your talent and potential for innovation is being wasted where people cannot have these great conversations?  There is a huge opportunity here to make things better – from engagement and retention to performance and results.

What can you do about it?

Creating a culture where feedback and honest conversations are welcome is a huge opportunity.  One of our clients is doing this with feedback workshops that cover both welcoming and responding to feedback and then giving effective feedback.

Another client is working on this by encouraging more regular team meetings, where managers are expected to ask “what is working well and what could be better?”

Another is introducing questions into their engagement survey on how welcome feedback and honest conversations are, then making sure this is broken down per manager.  Managers are then targeted on improving their engagement score on that particular question.

The shift towards fewer or no formal appraisal conversations is based on 2004 research showing that 4 in 10 people have an issue they feel they cannot raise with their manager. Recognising that formal appraisals were not the setting in which open and honest conversations felt natural, many firms are shifting to more frequent, less formal conversations – but is it working?  Or are 40% of your people still not speaking up?

The challenge is clear: how many people do you have in your business who are holding back from saying what they think? How many people have left your business out of frustration with their manager? And what will you do about it?

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Growth Mindset & Motivation

Stop Skills Training.  Wait, what?

The problem with a lot of the learning and development offerings out there is that the focus is on developing skills.  Even if it’s the best, most interactive, well-facilitated, highly practical workshop, the focus on skills alone is not enough.

What if delegates do not want to change?  What if they do not believe they can change?

If the success measure of any learning is the change in thinking and behaviour that follows, then learning skills alone is unlikely to be as effective as delivering a more holistic learning experience.

Think about it – why would you change the way you drive your car?  Or change the way you run team meetings?  Or change the way you talk to customers?  To change habits, you would need:

  1. Motivation – you’ve got to want to do it and see that somehow you will benefit from the shift
  2. Knowledge – yes you do absolutely need to know what to do
  3. Skill – and how to do it
  4. Self-Belief – you’ve got to believe you can make this shift and not have people dragging you down, thinking you look foolish or indeed being so afraid of failure that you don’t try this new thing
  5. Expectation – there’s got to be a reason, a system, a process, someone telling you to do it, or everyone else is already doing it – for this new habit to stick

That last one is the often the most difficult for the learning professional, as arguably we can cover the first four in the learning environment.  But making sure the manager of the delegate is pushing for change, or making sure everyone else is already displaying the desired behaviour, or that appraisals, bonuses, systems and processes all align to encourage the new behaviour – that’s a challenge.

So in this article we’ll look at a few tips on aspects 1, 4 and 5 – as you’re probably already doing 2 and 3 in your skills development work.

Motivation

As Simon Sinek famously highlighted in his TED talk, we need to start with why.  Why is this skill or change in behaviour important?  What are the benefits to the individual, team, business, world?  Connecting behaviour with impact and outcomes is critical for helping someone to feel motivated to change.  Common sense right?

But how often do we skip over this to focus on practical skills development?  Make sure you invest time in elearning and workshops to explain why something is important – and ideally ask delegates to reflect on what’s in it for them.  “What is there about the impact of this change that could be motivational for you?”

Self-Belief

Carol Dweck’s work on the Growth Mindset is incredibly useful here.  Help learners to understand that their beliefs about their ability to learn, develop and change make a huge difference to their behaviour.  This is not just about reviewing our beliefs, but spotting our thinking patterns that reveal our beliefs.  Sound strange?

Here’s what we’ve noticed on loads of workshops we run where we look at the growth mindset: people tend to think that they have more of a growth mindset than they display in their thinking and behaviour.

As an example, we have heard people talk about their growth mindset, yet they become defensive when receiving feedback.  Or they feel threatened or intimidated by others’ success.  It is easier to say that we believe in the ability to learn and grow than it is to consistently display the thinking and behaviour that truly reflects that belief.

Help people to challenge any fixed mindset behaviour or thinking by spotting the signs and changing their thinking.  Classic examples are when noticing a feeling of anger or defensiveness over feedback, challenge yourself to see the feedback as an opportunity to learn and grow.

When noticing a feeling of frustration or threat as a result of someone else’s success, challenge yourself to see that other person as an inspiration: if they did it, so can you.

Expectation

So now to the most challenging one.  Here are our top tips:

Find out what systems, processes or cultural norms are getting in the way of the change you want to achieve.  Is the P&L encouraging silo working?  Is the manager’s approach to team meetings stopping people from being innovative?  Find out what is going on and talk to stakeholders about what can be done to change things for the better.

Share this context with your delegates and/or ask them to work out what the barriers are to change themselves.  This way you get the learner engaged in solving the problems and working towards overcoming barriers to the application of learning.

Get the delegate’s line manager involved in the learning.  This might involve having a telephone call with the manager to explore with them what change they would like to see and then coach the manager to have impactful conversations with the delegate.

It could involve getting all the delegates’ managers together on a mini-workshop to talk about getting good ROI from the time out of the office – teaching them coaching skills to hold their people to account for applying learning.

The manager has been shown in every study of learning to be the make or break of learning application, so make sure you involve them.

Set up peer accountability.  If all else fails, you can help delegates to be more accountable by having to report back to their peers on the workshop.  Regular action learning sets and peer coaching sessions can leave delegates feeling a useful amount of pressure to change and bring new challenges to their peers, so this can be a helpful alternative to line manager conversations.

And a key tip for all learning: talk about applying the learning all the time.  This is not just a 10-minute action plan activity for the end of a workshop!

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Binary Thinking

What triggers binary thinking and why it’s an issue

Have you ever noticed when you’re feeling uncomfortable about making a decision or you’re anxious about something, that you seem to only have two bad options?

It’s a sign you may be getting stuck in binary thinking – either it’s A or B.  Black or White.  Or an unattractive option against an equally unattractive option.

This is one of the limiting effects of our brain’s tendency to narrow our thinking when we’re under pressure.  It can be helpful to understand more about why this happens and what you can do about it when you find yourself stuck in binary thinking.

So why do our brains narrow in thinking when we’re under pressure?  It’s important to remember that our primary instinct is to survive and so when we face anything we perceive as pressure or a threat, then to some degree, our brain, muscles, hormones and chemicals are in survival mode.  You can dig into the neuroscience behind this here.

That might sound extreme for simply deciding how to address a difficult conversation with a  colleague, but the fact remains that since the days of escaping attacks by sabre-tooth tigers, we still have the same fight or flight mechanisms for any perceived threat.

The discomfort and anxiety caused by the idea of having an awkward conversation with a colleague registers in our brains in a similar way to a physical threat to our safety.  And so it makes some sense that during these times of pressure, our brain’s priority is not to be as creative and open as possible in thinking.

The brain’s priority is to get us out of the problem, so quick and minimal options that get us towards a decision and outcome is the focus: think fight or flight.  This might translate in your difficult conversation scenario to thinking your only options are to go in and shout at the person or say nothing.  Or you might decide that it’s fire them now or forever be stuck with their poor performance.

What we need is more options…

How can we break our brain’s natural reaction and find more options?  This is where mindfulness comes in.  We need to be consciously aware of what is happening in order to choose a different way of thinking.

So pay attention to those times when you find yourself thinking you only have two options.  Think of the thought “I can either do A or B” as an alarm bell – a warning that you are in narrow thinking and it could be beneficial for you to move into more open and creative thinking.

Once you have recognised that you’ve gone into that binary thinking, you can now choose to come out of it.  Here are some top tips for getting into a more creative space:

Tell yourself, or draw it out if you work well with visuals, that there are many options in between A and B.

Ask yourself, what if I could work out four other options between A and B?  How might that help me?  Posing this as a question rather than a factual statement engages the brain and challenges the brain to start thinking more creatively

This moves the brain to a future-focus

Focus on the outcomes – what do you want to achieve?  This moves the brain to a future-focus, imagining what we want to happen, which again breaks us out of the threat response.

In the difficult conversation example, you might say that you want the outcomes to be that the person changes their behaviour and that your working relationship is still intact.

In communicating bad news, like the need for redundancies, you might say you want the outcome to be that people know what is happening and why, and that people know you are keen to help them get through this.

It is helpful to think about your outcomes in terms of what you want other people to feel, say and do.  As this can be a clear starting point for you deciding what you need to feel, say and do.

Now plan out some other options.  Based on the outcomes you want, what are some different options?  What could you say and do?  Which options feel more appropriate?  Why?

Now you have moved from limited options to a clearer focus on the outcomes you desire.  So you can plan your next move.

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Managing Millennials

Top Tips on Managing Millennials

We probably need to start this article with some caveats and health warnings.  We cannot claim that everyone born between 1980 and 2000 is the same or has the same requirements from their manager.

And just like any other group of people, the best thing you can do as a people manager is take time to build a relationship and work out together what each individual needs from you.

However there are some particular quirks to those in the latter half of this generation known as millennials: those born after around 1990, who grew up with technology at the centre of their lives and experienced 9/11 in their formative years.

There are lots of sources out there on millennials and understanding how they have developed into people that are frequently insulted in the workplace.  Our favourites are Simon Sinek’s frank and entertaining version from a US perspective and this UK version from the Guardian

But this article is about how to manage millennials.  Understanding their mindset and how they have come to certain ways of thinking and being is useful, but what do we do with that information when they’re in our team and we’re struggling?

There are again a lot of places to look for such guidance, but the best by far is this book where there are specific suggestions given on how to adapt your management style in order to get the best from your team (frankly whether they’re millennials or not).

Here are our highlights:

Adaptability – are you willing to adapt to the needs of others or do you find yourself (like most people do) saying about millennials: “I can’t believe they did that.  I would never have done that when I was their age / in their position.

They need to get a grip / realise the world we’re in / follow my lead or get lost.”  Examples often quoted are people taking long lunch breaks, leaving the office early or taking six weeks off to go travelling.

The problem here is that we always compare ourselves to others, so we say “I would never have taken a long lunch break when I was early on in my career – I never even do that now!”  But just because we didn’t do it, that doesn’t mean there is a universal law saying nobody can ever take a long lunch break.

We need to challenge ourselves to meet people where they are, challenge our beliefs about what is acceptable and unacceptable behaviour and work with each individual to agree ways of working.  In practice that probably means that sometimes it’s fine for people to take long breaks as long as they get the job done.

Challenge Orientation – ah that classic phrase – “it’s not a problem, it’s a learning opportunity.”  We scoff at this like it’s false, but the fact is that when we really believe something is an opportunity to learn and stretch ourselves and a challenge we look forward to, we get a lot more out of the experience.

We only need to remind ourselves of Carol Dweck’s Growth Mindset work to see how powerful this can be.  So do you view millennials in your team as a pain, or as a new challenge for you to work through and find a way to help them thrive?  Your mindset could be the greatest barrier to your success in their management.

Poweralthough we probably all still come across people who use their title, rank and level in the hierarchy as their power, there is no doubt that this is losing its relevance and prevalence in the workplace.

For millennials in particular, having grown up without the need for authority figures in some ways, as they can find out just as much as an expert in seconds on google, the focus is on relational power over authoritative power.

So next time you feel like saying, “I’m the boss, so just do what I say,” remember that this is likely to switch people off.  Work on building trust and helping your team understand the pressures you are under, so that you can ask people to help you and all work together on solutions.

Success – finally another point on mindset.  Do you believe that millennials hinder your chances of success?  Or do you see that they can help you succeed – and you can help them thrive?  Not surprisingly, those managers who believe the latter tend to be better managers.

What you will notice is that far from magic solutions for getting millennials to adapt to the workplace, the research shows that businesses who see millennials thriving and contributing greatly to results, have managers with a different mindset.

So, are you willing to think differently, in order to help your team thrive?

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Threat vs Reward

Is it a carrot?  Is it a stick?

At the forefront of every good organisation’s thinking is how to maximise the value of its (usually) most costly asset: its people.

One of the most effective ways of maximising our people’s potential is to create an environment which is conducive to optimal performance. Thankfully for us neuroscience sheds a significant amount of light on this issue. Which is what we’ll explore now.

But first, a little neuroscience 101.  The primary role of our brain is to help us navigate our environment; this distinguishes us from plants, for whom the only way is up.

On a very basic level our brain does this by avoiding threats and seeking rewards. While this instinctive orientation is brilliant for finding food and avoiding becoming it, it does generate problems for us in 21st century life.

Firstly, we have an incredibly strong natural response to threat that is instant and long-lasting.

When we were being chased by tigers this was brilliant, in flight or fight mode our brain’s responses cause a rise in heart rate and blood pressure, our pupils dilate to take in as much light as possible, which helps to trigger brain cortisol production (stress hormone) and decrease dopamine (pleasure hormone).  Rest assured you will not be distracted by tempting pleasures whilst running for your life!

Cortisol makes us see things in black or white, yes or no and leads us to over-assess the level of threat in front of us.  From an evolutionary viewpoint, those ancestors that thought “better safe than sorry” presumably lasted a little bit longer.

However, all of this is rather unhelpful as a response to a strongly-worded email from your boss.  Herein lies the issue: our brains respond to social threat in much the same way as they respond to physical threats.

As a result of this perceived threat (even though it’s just an email), the blood vessels to our muscles dilate in preparation for action and blood flows away from our Prefrontal Cortex – the part of our brain which manages planning, complex cognitive behaviour, decision-making and our emotions.  Otherwise known as the rational part of our brain.

If we threaten someone or put them in a threatening work environment (even by just writing an email they respond negatively to), we are literally reducing their capacity to think rationally.  So when you’re upset with someone for being behind on a deadline or being unhelpful in some way, the very email you might send to get them to focus and do better, will probably only make things worse.

Blood moves to this area of the brain when under threat...

Neurologically speaking this should be great news, because surely there is something we can do about it?  We know that our brains are mouldable like plastic, so whenever we find out something about our brains that is not ideal, we can consider ways to respond and encourage our brains to react differently.

Is reward the solution? The effects of reward, although less strong, do put us in a better state of mind for operating in the modern working world.  Reward stimulates parts of the brain that are responsible for optimism, concentration, collaboration and innovation.

However, it is surprising to some that the conventional business understanding of reward i.e. money, is perhaps not as significant for creating a reward state of mind as was once thought.

Research has shown when we are given a choice between money and social connection we are more motivated by social rewards than by monetary ones.  The research suggests this is because our brains experience physical pleasure during socially rewarding experiences.

For instance, having people collaborate with us, perceiving ourselves to have a good reputation, receiving recognition or giving help to someone all trigger a pleasurable reward response.

So by extension, creating an environment which offers rewards and minimises threat does not necessarily mean financial incentivising.  What the research suggests is that we need to create an environment where we each build genuine relationships with one another.

What could you do with this information?  How might you contribute in your office and your team to a working environment where strong relationship-building is the expectation?

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Dysfunctional Teams

Trust in the work place, just how critical is it to team building?

Many moons ago, we explored the concept of trust in the work place – and in recent weeks we’ve had cause to dust off and brush up on one of our favourite models of team effectiveness, which also raised the issue of the trust in the workplace, developed by Patrick Lencioni.

According to Lencioni, all teams have the potential to be dysfunctional, so to improve the functioning of a team, we need to understand the type and level of dysfunction that they exhibit.  Lencioni suggested 5 dysfunctions of a team:

  • Absence of Trust
  • Fear of Conflict
  • Lack of Commitment
  • Avoidance of Accountability
  • Inattention to Results

As the title of our article suggests, trust is the key element of this model – focus your efforts here and you’ll naturally improve the other four.  We’ve found a little graphic, with trust at the bottom to demonstrate its foundational role.

Lencioni's Pyramid

Trust evaporates when team members are not genuinely open with one another about their mistakes, weaknesses or need for help.  It’s impossible to build a foundation for trust without this authenticity and vulnerability.

“It’s not enough to keep your word; others have to be aware that you are doing it. And here is where it gets sticky. Like beauty, behavioural integrity is in the eye of the beholder. Consistently keeping promises and living by your stated principles are difficult tasks. Being seen as consistently doing these things is harder still.”

– Professor Tony Simons, Cornell University Professor of Management & Organisational Behaviour

So how do you go about building trust through authenticity and vulnerability in the workplace – isn’t that a little scary in fact?

In this instance, we think it’s a good thing that trust isn’t simply a switch that be thrown from on to off.  It’s not something that can simply happen overnight.  It takes time and repeated examples of the same behaviour/skill/outcome for us to build trust, but there are a few key concepts we can build on to get there quicker.

We’ll look at integrity, inclusion and humility here, but if you’d like to know more there are a couple of reads we recommend.  Ken Blanchard’s Trust Works: Building Lasting Relationships is a great foundational book, but if you’re in a rush Diana Gabriels’s 4 Components may be of more interest.

Who watches the watchers?  Building Integrity.

Whether we like it or not, we’re being watched. Our everyday words and deeds are simply there for everyone to see, so we need to be mindful of our actions and our words to ensure they’re building a coherent picture of our behavioural integrity.

Take the Blame and Share the Credit.  Humility.

Nothing breaks trust like a manager or colleague, who at the first sign of something going wrong, points the finger at others.  Who wants that person in their team?

So by contrast, someone keen to build trust will assume responsibility for mistakes, offering to learn from the situation and support others to avoid similar mistakes in the future.  Showing this level of humility repeatedly, will foster trust far earlier and better than the finger pointer.

Know it, but not all of it.  Inclusion.

Being good at what you do is a key component of building trust.  After all, how many people who are a terrible at doing X do you trust to do X?

Exactly.

But it’s important to position your skill and knowledge with a little humility and to acknowledge you might not know it all.  Learning when to ask questions and showing an interest in learning more is a great way to allow others to feel they’re involved in your development.  Inclusion, like intimacy is a key foundation to trust.

As Professor Tony Simons has hinted at, trust is a wonderfully fluid concept that we each experience and exhibit in different ways. There are however, several behavioural steps that we can take to foster and nurture trust within a group of people.

A critical step is to be the first person to be vulnerable. Nobody else will feel safe owning up to mistakes and taking about things they find difficult unless someone starts that trend. How about you? What could you do today or tomorrow to show a bit of your human vulnerability to the team?

If you want to read more on this subject, there’s a great deal of overlap between building trust with colleagues and building trust with clients.  We’ve written more on the latter here…

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