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    Building Trust in a Distrusting World

    Trust is the foundation of all relationships, personal and professional. If there is not a foundation of trust, the relationship will suffer in many ways. The team building and leadership support I do is based on Dianne Crampton’s TIGERS 6 Principles, and it begins with T for trust. Trust is having confidence in the integrity, honesty, reliability, and fairness of a person, a group, or system. One way to view trust is that it is the oil that makes all the other TIGERS 6 principles easily work together. Let us look at the different ways leaders can build or break trust.

    Doing What You Say You Are Going to Do

    I bet you can count the number of times your leader said they were going to do something and never followed through with it and it was not discussed again. A healthy leader makes good notes of their commitments, and if they are not able to fulfill the commitment, they communicate why without any blaming or excuses. It is completely appropriate to educate why a commitment couldn’t be fulfilled or why it was moved to a different priority level. Your team members want to know why and understand the big picture and small picture.

    Modeling Behavior You Want to See from Others

    As a leader, it is not realistic to expect behavior from others that you do not reciprocate. You may want others to always keep you informed of what is happening on projects or within team processes, yet if you are not doing the same, it isn’t building trust. Often team members will feel frustrated in organizations, and they aren’t able to totally put their fingers on why. I have found it often comes back to this behavior.  

    Requesting Permission to Use Another Person’s Resources

    I will always remember working diligently on an education project when I was an employee, and then I had to hand it off to a senior leadership member when it was 80 percent of the way done. When it was finished, the other senior leadership member was recognized for the overall project. At that point in my life, I was playing small so I didn’t speak up, yet obviously I can still remember all details of the situation over a decade later. It was a huge trust breaker for me with the leader and, in turn, the organization as a whole.

    Refraining from Cheating or Stealing

    This is a trust breaker that really should go without saying, although we hear about leaders across the board compromising in this area and reducing themselves to cheating or stealing. Is it stealing from a company if you have team members running your personal errands during their business hours? I say it is. Of course, you do work responsibilities during your personal time, yet that is your choice, and it doesn’t justify having someone else fulfill your personal commitments.

    Striving for Predictability and Consistency

    With the years of the pandemic and a rise in political leadership, humans are extremely triggered and are craving predictability and consistency. It is said the third phase we are experiencing is mental health challenges. The best thing we can do as leaders is to focus in this area. One way is to facilitate consensus team-building sessions where you bring employees into the fold with changes having them brainstorm in small groups, share their ideas, bring all ideas together, and look at their connections, followed by assigning responsibilities and then timelining the process. The follow up piece is to continue to do this and not just doing it once and then never again because it took half a day to make it happen. The more you do it, the more efficient the team members are at it and you will be accomplishing projects left and right as a team where they feel valued and are making a difference in the company’s overall success.

    Striving to Do the Right Thing

    This idea reminds me of Season 1, Episode 5 in “Ted Lasso” where Ted was trying to get the star player to pass the ball and not score all the goals on his own. The star player was out for his own benefit and didn’t listen or care what it was doing to the morale of the team. So, Ted benched the star player at half time when the team was tied for the first time in the season and had a chance of winning. The team finished the second half playing together by trusting one another. The winning goal was where a player passed it to another player when he could easily have scored himself and won the game. The goal was made, and the team came together with hugs and excitement all because they did the right thing and weren’t out for their own benefit.

    Striving for Sustainability

    This looks like focusing on meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs. A good example of this is what we are seeing in the vacation rental management industry when it comes to proposed bans of short-term rentals. Don’t think about getting the ordinance put on hold for just the next couple of years. Make a solid case with good data to ensure future generations are not fighting a battle only a couple of years later. Go the extra mile!

    Practicing Transparency

    Often when we don’t say anything, it is more harmful to the company culture than if you were transparent. If there is a health challenge happening in an organization, it is suggested to share and it is OK to ask that it is kept in the company out of respect to the leadership member who is sharing. You might think you don’t want to scare or burden team members, yet don’t rob them of the opportunity to support the ill leadership member however they might be able to.

    Providing Equal Opportunity for Advantages and Consequences

    It is so important to ensure you are not favoring one team member over another. For example, are you giving opportunities for project support to one employee because you know it will be done quickly and, in your mind, correctly? This can create a situation where the employee who doesn’t get selected all the time, feels not good enough. This hits on the foundation of our worthiness as humans and doesn’t allow additional stretching/learning across the board with team members.

    Keeping Confidences

    I have had companies approach me about speaking on the topic of gossip. I truly feel this is coming from so much negative talk during the pandemic about masks/no masks, vaccines/no vaccines, politics, etc. Humans are struggling to find healthy ways to connect with one another and are also showing to be more awkward than previously. I supported a client with the idea of positive gossiping, and it showed to be a great success. They launched the idea with a talking stick in a group setting and each person would share something positive about one team member. It built team members up and created positivity in their department instead of negativity.

    The best action we can take in our leadership style and making a difference in our organizations is to build trust. This takes complete mindfulness in our actions and an embodiment of the idea.

    As Simon Sinek states, “A team is not a group of people who work together, a team is a group of people who trust one another.”

    Ali Cammelletti of Spark Your Mindset brings over 30 years of experience in the hospitality industry focusing on leadership and sales. She helps leaders build resiliency and improve performance by bringing awareness to opportunity behaviors and sparking mindsets. She does this through team building, customer service, and sales education as well as one on one leadership coaching.

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