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Entries in trust (6)


But Do Your Performers Trust You?

Anytime I watch a circus I am amazed by the level of trust that must exist between the performers in a trapeze act. To let go of a rope or bar in mid-air and have confidence that the other person will be there to catch you is fascinating to say the least. Even an animal trainer has to develop a high degree of trust with their animals...or they may be their next meal.

While controlling animals or flying through the air may not be a part of our day, having a high degree of trust with other people is critical to our success in working together as a work team or family. To see how trustworthy you are, reflect on your answers to these questions:

  • Do you consistently meet deadlines-or miss them?
  • If you will have to miss a deadline, do you have valid reasons, or weak excuses?
  • When decisions are made as a team, do you more frequently think about the "greater good" or mainly focus on a solution that will only benefit you?
  • Do you tell people what they want to hear, or share with them (in an appropriate manner) what they need to hear?
  • Do people come to you seeking your input because they know you will be honest?
  • Do your daily activities consistently align with what you say are your priorities?

Remember, trust can take years to build, but only seconds to break. And when the stakes are high (and they always are), you don't want to be the one dropped...or eaten.


The Value of Treating Your Performers Fairly

USA Today had a recent article that highlighted a study about the effects of a manager treating their employees fairly. The findings? The practice boosted the financial bottom line of the organization.

In our training programs on Juggling Elephants, we consistently emphasize the need to build trust with those who you are depending on to help you get things done. When people know they will be treated with the same respect as others in the organization, they tend to give a stronger effort toward accomplishing the goals of the organization.

Using a circus analogy, if you are the leader of the trapeze act, don't make the mistake of treating one performer differently than another. The person doing the flips may get the "ooohs" and "aaaahhhs," but if the person putting up the net feels underappreciated.... well, let's just say the act could be in trouble.


The Safety Of The Performers

In planning for an upcoming program, the meeting planner was discussing the reasons behind the improved safety record of the organization. One that caught my attention was an increased focus on building the relationship between the supervisors and their crews. In oversimplified terms, when the managers showed a genuine concern for the welfare of their people (not just avoiding mistakes or accidents) accidents did decrease and the work environment was much more positive.

His findings shouldn't have surprised me. When you trust someone, you are much more willing to listen to their instructions and want to do things in a way that will make them happy, if for no other reason than you know they have your best interests at heart. All the training, warning signs and proper equipment are less effective if there is no trust present.

If you are responsible for the safety of the performers around you, ask yourself, "How much do they trust that what I am saying to them is the truth?" If the answer is "not much," you may have just found an area of focus for some of the next acts in your lineup.


Your Performers Need To See Your Pimples

Okay, cheesy title, but it's true. A study at the University of Massachusetts revealed that individuals are 5 times more likely to lie in email communication versus a face to face conversation. As you can expect, the less physiological or emotional connection one had to the person to whom they were communicating, the more likely they were to lie.

We are huge proponents of building trust with anyone in your life of whom you have expectations. One cornerstone of building that trust is being honest. As the study, shows, that can best be accomplished by talking with someone in real time, in front of them. They may be suspicious of your typed words, but they will have a hard time dispelling the sincerity in your voice and non-verbal language. You will also have the same chance to evaluate their level of honesty.

Even if you can't always have tough discussions face to face, try to choose the next best option. If you were thinking about emailing, call them instead. If a call was your plan and you will be able to see them face to face soon, save it for the real time meeting. Any steps you take to increase the trust people have for you will lead your circus to a better performance.


Absence of the Ringmaster Makes The Heart...

There was an interesting study done by Timothy Golden of the Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute. In a study of over 11,000 employees, he and his team found that employees are less satisfied if their boss is a "teleworker" instead of someone more frequently physically present with them. More specifically, the research showed that employees:

  • Get less feedback
  • Feel less empowered
  • Are less satisifed with their jobs

Even if you are a manager that is onsite with your people most of the time, it is vital to remember that they need your feedback, need to know they are trusted to make decisions and that what they do is important. You may even want to make time in your lineup on a daily or weekly basis to reflect on how you are doing on meeting the needs of those who depend on you. Be specific to each employee (or even family member) and add tasks in your lineup as needed to address any deficiencies.

After all, the last thing you want is to step into the ring and find that all your performers have left!