Fourteen years ago, my husband and I bought a new-build house. We are fairly handy people, and did almost all of the work on the house ourselves. I’m talking painting, landscaping, even finishing our basement to be a separate apartment.
But we knew our limitations. The house has a walk-out basement that requires a patio and the kitchen has French doors that require a deck 14 feet off the ground, right above that patio. We knew that being on a hill created some water/drainage challenges, and that we didn’t have the skill to sink the posts for the deck, or lay that patio correctly. So we contracted it out.
My husband and I called several companies, received several quotes and contacted references before we made our selection. We even had prior experience with the selected company. We did our due diligence and we trusted the contractor to do the job competently.
Fast forward thirteen years and our patio and deck is a disaster area. The water wasn’t managed correctly, the deck posts weren’t set correctly and two brutal winters have caused an immense amount of damage. Tens of thousands of dollars of damage.
We are now in the unenviable situation of contacting landscaping companies to replace/repair the patio and deck. We are now being asked to trust another company to fix what we trusted the other company to do well the first time. Did I mention that this has been the only thing we’ve had to contract out? It’s enough to make a girl growl…
Everyone has a natural propensity to trust; a going-in position somewhere between constant suspicion and gullibility. As leaders, there is probably no other way to build the needed relationships without learning how to extend trust. And as a leader, it is up to us to extend trust first! Yikes!
Think of a relationship at work that you would consider low-trust. What is it like to work with that person? When I ask my clients that, I generally hear words like: pulling teeth, excruciating, pointless, and frustrating.
Now think of a relationship at work that you would consider high-trust. What is it like to work with that person? My clients tell me things like: easy, effortless, clear, smooth, fast and in sync.
Low-trust relationships cost you time AND money.
High-trust relationships translate to increased speed and lower costs.
Being a technical leader does not mean that we have to figure this out for ourselves.
Believe it or not, we can ask. Ask your employees to fill in the blank in this sentence. “If you want to lead me, you better __________”.
You’ll get fascinating answers that give you real insight into what that person values. Living up to those expectations can build a huge amount of trust in the relationship, which translates to easy, effortless, clear, smooth, fast and in-sync work.
And doesn’t that sound a whole lot better than excruciating, frustrating relationships that feel like you’re pulling teeth?
I need to select a landscaper that I trust to fix my house. What relationship are you struggling with that could use a healthy dose of trust?
Signing off from the lighter side: You can always trust me around your man, but keep an eye on me around your chocolate.