“Sometimes speaking the truth feels like we are being unkind, especially when sharing difficult information or feedback. But in reality, dancing around the truth is unkind.
When we avoid stating the truth, when we are vague or ambiguous under the guise of being kind, it is often because we are trying to lessen the discomfort for ourselves, not for the other person.”
– Brené Brown, Dare to Lead
If you’re not familiar with Dr. Brené Brown, she is the author of Dare to Lead: Daring Greatly & Rising Strong at Work. Through her research, she’s found there are 7 elements to building trusting relationships.
Employees who feel connected and safe in their workplace are more productive, happier at work, and feel more comfortable speaking up and taking risks. That is why building trust within a team or organization allows individuals to THRIVE in the workplace.
So, what are these magical 7 elements we all need to build trust? Here they are.
B – Boundaries
Clear is Kind.
Contrary to what many of us have been told, “if you have nothing nice to say nothing at all”. Avoiding direct conversations doesn’t help teams innovate and provide world-class service. It stalls a team and stunts its growth.
If you catch yourself using the excuse “I don’t want to hurt their feelings” to avoid a tough conversation, then we challenge you to lean into being kind by being clear.
When we set boundaries, we’re making it super clear what is okay, what’s not okay, and why.
Being clear and setting boundaries may be uncomfortable at first, but it will pay off in the long run – for you and especially for your team!
R – Reliability
Do what you say you’ll do.
We all know that person who is overly optimistic about their productivity. When someone fails to follow through, does that make you want to trust them the next time they say they can handle something? Probably not as much.
Doing what you say you’ll do means you are honest with yourself and others about what you can handle. It means you ask for help when you need it.
We build a trusting relationship with others when we do what we say we’ll do.
Be realistic about what you can handle. Check in with your team to make sure they have the tools and support they need to follow through on their tasks.
Be aware of your competencies and limitations.
This means you know your capacity and you communicate it clearly. Take the time to get to know how your team works best, their strengths, and their weaknesses.
A – Accountability
Own your mistakes & apologize
Building a trusting relationship means we need to practice accountability. This means when you make a mistake, you own it, apologize, and make amends to repair relationships. You don’t place the blame on others.
Uncomfortable? Yes, that’s why we call it BRAVING trust!
Practice the act of Extreme Ownership (which is also a book by Navy Seals Jocko Willink & Leif Babin. We highly recommend it!)
This is the practice of owning everything in your world and taking responsibility for everything that will affect whether or not your mission is successful. This doesn’t just mean doing what’s in your job description!
Imagine a team built on this behavior top to bottom. It can be truly transformational!
Give credit where credit is due.
Nothing feels worse than watching someone take credit for something they didn’t do. Showing appreciation when we share the accolades with the team builds trust. Recognize people for their work – in front of them and behind their back.
When we hear someone complimenting and praising a coworker “behind their back”, we have even more trust and respect for both people.
V – the Vault
Don’t share information that is not yours to share.
Being a vault means people can trust you to keep information private. When they tell you something in confidence, they know you will respect their wishes. (As long as it doesn’t put the person, yourself, or others in danger.)
Don’t share information or experiences that are not yours to share, and don’t spread gossip or rumors.
Talk to people, not about people.
It’s not kind to talk about people behind their back. Ever.
Instead, if a conflict arises, talk to the person directly to solve the problem. Talking behind someone’s back only makes the situation worse. It’s important to build team expectations and boundaries around how to handle conflict and difficult conversations.
The virtual work world can make this even more difficult to implement. It’s tempting to can send a quick text or DM without thinking about the true meaning of our words, or the message we are spreading.
It’s natural to need to vent once in a while or chat with a coworker about a situation. It can also be awkward to remind someone that gossiping is not okay.
That’s why it’s called BRAVING trust. It takes bravery to keep your word and say something when others don’t do the same.
I – Integrity
Choose Courage Over Comfort
All too often, we avoid situations that may make us uncomfortable, like tough conversations. We think if we just stay in our comfort zone, it will work itself out. But that is seldom the case.
It takes BRAVING courage to lean into those situations – even when they lead us outside our comfort zone. We can practice integrity by doing what is right vs. what is fun, fast, or easy.
Practice Your Values
Integrity also means doing what’s right even when no one is looking. You stand up for your values in every situation.
Practice living out your values and not just professing them. Your values need to be the core tenants of how decisions are made and mistakes are handled.
N – Nonjudgement
Ask for what you need.
When we ask for what we need, we are being kind! We can’t expect other people to read our minds. Don’t let yourself get caught up in the entitlement that “they should know.”
Start to notice how you react when someone asks for help. Are they afraid asking will make them look weak or like they are failing? As a leader, when we model the behavior of asking for what we need, we teach others to ask for what they need without the fear of being judged.
Talk about feelings.
Building a trusting relationship on nonjudgement means we have to become comfortable with vulnerability in the workplace. Allow others to talk through situations, and (gasp) even feelings, without judgment!
Address uncomfortable conversations (what Brené Brown calls a ‘Rumble’) by being honest with how we feel about a situation. Be clear about what’s okay, what’s not okay, and why – without immediately shutting it down or moving to shame and blame.
Give your team the space to be vulnerable and open without the fear of being judged.
G – Generosity
Assume positive intent.
Even when someone disappoints us or acts in a way we can’t understand, we can choose to assume their intentions were positive, instead of assuming they were trying to hurt us.
Assuming positive intent means we give people the benefit of the doubt and give grace before we give judgment.
Assume that everyone in front of you (or behind an email or in a Zoom call) is doing the very best they can. Extend the most generous interpretations to the intentions, words, and actions of others. This is a game-changer and a way to teach and practice empathy!
There you have it! All the elements of BRAVING Trust and how YOU can implement each element to build trust within your workplace. Although easier said than done, it is possible for organizations to implement each of these elements. And when they do, the results are truly remarkable!
If your team is struggling to build trust, know that you are not alone. These are not easy concepts to implement! If your team is wasting time and energy on conflict resolution, miscommunication, or unproductive workplace culture, implementing BRAVING Trust might just be the change you need to get your team back on track.
If this is you – reach out! We’d love to chat and see if Dare to Lead training could be the right fit for your team!