Give and you'll receive. Learn how to create a culture of trust and give people the initial benefit of doubt.
- There's a well known saying which says, "you reap what you sow." And this is true of everything in teamwork. If you help the others, they'll help you. If you make an extra effort for people, they'll do the same for you. And if you trust others, they're more likely to trust you. You have to sow before you can reap, which means that someone needs to take that first step. It might as well be you. Of course, the reverse is also true. So, if you expect someone to do a great job, they're more likely to.
But if you expect them to let you down, they're also more likely to. If you don't trust your team members, they will be more likely to behave in that way. I'll give you an example of this. I was manager of a packaging company in England. We had about 200 people working there. When I was first shown around on day one, the boss said to me, "There you are. That's the clocking in rack. There's all the cards." And I said, "Yeah, alright." And he said, "And that's your card in the top corner." And I said to him, "Really? I have to clock in?" He said, "Yeah, It's just equality.
Everybody clocks in. It's no big deal." And I thought, 'Okay, fine.' So, I used to clock in in the morning. Clock out when I went home. And then one day, the boss summoned me to his office. He said, "Chris, I'm not happy. You've been working less that 45 hours a week for the last month." I thought, 'What? He's been measuring my hours?' And I also thought, 'I'm sure I've done more than 45 hours a week. That just doesn't seem right.' So, I went out of there rather shocked actually. And I did some investigating, and I discovered that there were two things going on.
One was that at lunch time, they always subtracted an hour of time even though I used to work through my lunch hour. The other thing they were doing was that if I didn't clock out because I was away on a business trip or whatever, they would put 5 p.m. as the default clocking out time. So, the lunch out and the clocking out time were both totally unfair. I was doing the hours. I wasn't getting the credit. And he didn't trust me and he was measuring my hours. What was my reaction to that? The answer is, for the lunch hour, I used to make sure I took my hour.
If he was taking an hour off of me, I thought, 'Well I'm gonna take it.' So, I would go and sit in my car and read the paper and listen to the radio rather than work. This is the boss of the whole factory sitting in his car. It's ridiculous. Then, my other thing I did was when I was away on a business trip, rather than just go home, I would swing by the factory, which is probably and extra 20 minutes driving, just so that I could clock out. So, I would clock out at half past eleven at night, or something like that, just to make sure that I got the hours that I deserved. And that was my response to a boss who didn't trust me.
It was ridiculous. It was so petty. Incidentally, when I then went to my next job, which was a University lecturer, we had a totally different environment. It was a complete environment of trust. I was still used to this low trust environment from the factory. So, initially, I used to abuse the trust. I discovered I could have a nice long lunch hour sitting on the beach in the sunshine eating fish and chips or whatever. I used to do that and nobody said anything. I used to think, 'Well, this is amazing. I can get away with this.' But, what happened was that because they trusted me and they didn't check on me (or if they did, they never said anything) I started to respond to that in a favorable way, and I started to become more trustworthy.
So, within a few months, I was working really long hours. I wasn't going off to the beach at lunchtime. I had become drawn into their world of trust repaying trust. And it was amazing because I could feel it happening to me. It's amazing how a person, even a reasonably experienced manager, can be really influenced by the environment you put them in. So, I want you to ask yourself, who could you trust a little more than usual. Who do you have a really low opinion of that you could maybe give a small bit of trust to and see what happens? Are there any relationship in your team that you could make the first step towards improving?
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- Getting the job done
- Dividing up the work
- Cultivating communication
- Handling conflict
- Delivering reliably
- Playing more than one role
- Using your strengths and dealing with your weaknesses