How to start trusting others

Three ways to start the good habit of trusting others, particularly if you are in a leadership role.

  1. Praise others’ strengths. This is not about saying “good job” or “keep up the great work”, but actually about taking time to identify things people do well and break those down with them. Why are they good? Why do they matter (to the organisation, to the purpose)? What is it that makes them special? How can we make sure you can re-do this next time?
  2. Listen without distraction. I wrote about listening yesterday. Making sure you are 100% present during a conversation (that is to say, at least listening to understand) means you are trusting others with your time. No, you don’t need to check your phone every five minutes. No, you do not have to quickly answer an e-mail as somebody is talking to you. And probably no, the phone call you are getting is not important and you do not have to take it.
  3. Delegate responsibilities. Delegating, in general, is difficult. In part, we don’t want to bother others; in part, we do not believe others can do as good a job as we can. Furthermore, when we delegate we usually delegate tasks: “can you work on this report?”; “can you take next week’s presentation?”; “can you update this process?”. I believe we can do a better job by delegating responsibilities, that generally feature more freedom and exposure: “We have been tasked with achieving this type of growth, can you take ownership?”; “I have been in charge of updating the management, how about you do it from now on?”; “So far, managers from the headquarters have done most of the touch bases with remote offices, how do you feel about taking that?”.

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