Humans are designed to avoid conflict. Employees fear speaking up about issues in case it makes them look stupid or unpopular. Having the courage to be vulnerable in a high stakes situation takes a lot of guts.
Thousands of years ago, when humans roamed the African savannah, it was in our best interests to live in tribes. Being part of a tribe allowed us to sleep soundly knowing that others were looking out for man-eating sabre-toothed tigers.
We are biologically programmed to want to be with people and work together, as we instinctively know it helps our survival. We feel alive when we are with other people. Yet, there is a dark underbelly to this need to be with others - we also fear rejection. In fact, neuroscience studies have uncovered we experience social rejection like physical pain.
Today’s ever changing workplace, features increasing speed, complexity and dense interdependencies. Over the last century, work has transitioned from labor intensive, repetitive work to today’s knowledge based economy.
Back in 1975, 83% of a company’s value was through tangible assets such as equipment, buildings and inventory. In 2020, intangible assets such as intellectual property and goodwill now make up 90% of a company’s value.
As Abraham Maslow taught in his Hierarchy of Needs, we can’t concern ourselves with higher goals (self-mastery and purpose) until we have the necessities of life. These being physiological (food and water), physical safety and social connection.
In the workplace, employees need confirmation that their fellow co-workers are looking out for them. They need to feel connected and that colleagues really care about them.
At the same time, employees need to believe the work they do matters, that they’re making an impact and others appreciate their work. And that they have a clear future within the organisation.
Have you ever started a new job or worked with a new team and realised that you needed to build trust quickly?
Building trust and managing it long term, is one of the number one skills of a high performing leader. This is critical during uncertainty because if changes aren’t managed well, people will stop trusting leadership.
Okay - SO maybe that's not what the podcast interview was meant to be about for Candour Communication. But somehow, I managed to let that one slip.
If you're like most people, you woke up on New Year's Day tired, groggy and maybe hungover. But also with some sort of goal that you had proclaimed you would work on.
Since 2005, I have spent 30 minutes every New Year's Eve writing down three things on a blank piece of paper:
1. What am I grateful for?
2. What am I willing to let go of?
3. And what do I want to bring into my life in the next year?
A common statement that (older) leaders assert is that trust must be earned. Many a time I've had to listen politely while a CEO or senior executive tells me (uninvited) how they believe trust has to be earned. That if you give trust, people will take advantage of you.
And then other times, people will tell me that they believe trust is given first. Interestingly, such leaders tend to not try to convince me so rigourously.
But here's the thing. It's neither.
Trust is reciprocated. It's an exchange between two or more people.
Trust begets trust.
Don't believe me? Well, this is where social science holds its own. It is how the brain works and can be proved scientifically.
A common statement made about trust is that you need vulnerability. In order to learn to trust, team members must allow themselves to be vulnerable with one another. That means confess to mistakes, talk about their fears, share authentic personal stories and ask for help.