The easiest way to earn trust is to give it.
Trust someone and they’ll trust you back.
This only works most of the time.
Sometimes, they’ll abuse your trust. But it’s worth it for all the times that it does work.
Don’t lose out on trust because you’re afraid of making yourself vulnerable.
You want proof?
Trust me on this.
I discovered this life-hack when I was leading a team of teachers. I was finding it really hard to transition into ‘leading from afar’.
I was very comfortable with leading a bunch of teachers when we were in the same room, or they were next door.
But as I progressed up the career ladder, I became responsible for more teachers, all over the two schools and provisions. If they did well, I was commended. If they did badly, it was my head on the chopping board.
“How can I be responsible for people that I barely see?? I can’t control what they do!”
Some of my biggest regrets have come from blaming my team when things have gone wrong. It’s unfair, and it just kills the team.
But I was responsible. I agreed to this.
I don’t know who you need to hear this from, but:
You don’t need to be in control of something to be responsible for it.
When your team messes up, take full responsibility.
Take the FULL blame - not part of it.
Nothing motivates a team like sacrificing yourself to the consequences. Nothing wins trust like swallowing your pride. Let them see you fail.
Trust your team. By doing this, you empower them to solve their own problems. You’re telling them:
“It’s your job to figure it out. You don’t need me to micro-manage you.”
This can be a positive or negative message. But if it comes with trust, it’s an empowering one. I tell them:
“You know the situation better than me. And you’re better than me at it. I trust you with this.”
I had loads of role-models where I worked. Someone I respected told me their secret to running a successful school:
“I only hire people that are better than me.”
If someone abuses your trust, double-down on it. Tell them plainly how much trust you’re putting in them, and how your neck is on the line for them.
It’s easier to let go than hold on. You’ll outlast them. Be patient.
I’m new to the tech world (and I look less like a straight guy everyday) so people think that I don’t have much experience with leadership.
That’s ok, I don’t have anything to prove.
Back to the den.