You have enjoyed a high-trust relationship with your team over the years. But recently, they learned of some failures in your personal life that will possibly end your marriage. Some have expressed disbelief that you were even capable of something like this. Others are staying quiet but have been less engaged with you than in the past. You feel that trust has been broken and wonder how a person in this situation could ever be a person of influence again. Is it possible to rebuild trust with your team?
Progress, Not Perfection
Recovering from any failure, whether business, personal, or moral, is a process. Whatever the failure, you cannot allow that failure to define you. Failure is an event, not a person. However, others may question your integrity and cause you to doubt yourself. Consider the following ideas to rebuild trust with your team.
1. ACKNOWLEDGE AND TAKE RESPONSIBILITY FOR YOUR ACTIONS.
As tempting as it is to hide your failures, they probably already know something is going on. Most failures, especially failures of integrity, never affect you alone. Take ownership of what happened and take responsibility for any harm it may have caused.
2. PRACTICE SELF-REFLECTION.
Invest time in reflecting on what happened. Where did the problem occur? Why did the problem occur? Were your actions in alignment with your values? It’s one thing to fail, but you can add to the severity if you don’t have the AAR (After Action Review) so you can learn from the failure.
3. ESTABLISH GUARDRAILS OR BOUNDARIES TO ENSURE CHANGE.
The road back to integrity will depend heavily on showing others you have a plan for change. If others see you doing the same habits that led to this failure, confidence will be low that you can change. This lack of confidence will show up as a lack of trust.
4. PRACTICE CONSISTENCY.
Integrity is built through consistent actions over time. Commit to living according to your values and be accountable for your actions daily. This combination of vulnerability and consistency will bring you back to integrity. No one expects you to be perfect, but they do expect you to be honest.
5. ESTABLISH (OR RECONNECT WITH) YOUR INNER CIRCLE.
Do you have a select group of people (1-3) holding you accountable? If not, consider asking someone close to you to help and hold you accountable. An inner circle is a small group of people who can tell you the hard thing and ask you the hard question. They care for you so much that they will not allow you to act in ways inconsistent with your values.
Trust is established over days, weeks, and months and is lost in seconds. Trust can be rebuilt and your integrity put back into play by following the steps outlined here. One final thought: Own your part in any failure, but don’t try to own other people’s responses to the failure. If you have done the hard work of confessing, seeking forgiveness, and putting in boundaries for change, and someone says they can’t trust you any longer, that’s on them.
About Perry Holley
Perry Holley is a coach and facilitator with Maxwell Leadership, as well as a published author. As co-host of the Maxwell Leadership Executive Leadership Podcast, he has a passion for developing others and seeing people grow into the leaders they were intended to become.
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