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Executive Podcast #213: You May Not Be Trusted as Much as You Think

November 10, 2022
Executive Podcast #213: You May Not Be Trusted as Much as You Think

The Trifecta of Trust by Dr. Joseph Folkman uses data from tens of thousands of 360-Degree assessments to determine how team members view trust with their leaders. The data showed that over 45% of leaders were not trusted as much as they think they are. In the book, he gives 7 signals that you might not be trusted as much as you think you are. 

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Perry Holley: 

Welcome to the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast, where our goal is to help you develop your reputation as a leader, increase your ability to influence others, and increase your ability to fully engage your team to deliver remarkable results. Hi, I’m Perry Holley, a Maxwell Leadership facilitator and coach. 

Chris Goede: 

And I’m Chris Goede, Executive Vice President with Maxwell Leadership. Welcome and thank you for joining. As we get started with this lesson today, I want to encourage you, if your organization is at a place where you’re like, “We need to put something in place to help develop our leaders.” Maybe it’s even from a culture standpoint, just doesn’t feel right. We would love to talk with you about that, to learn a little bit more, to see if there’s a way that we can help with the development and the culture. That’s what we do. It’s what we’re passionate about doing. That’s why we do this podcast because we believe that, in less than 20 minutes or so, we’ll give you some tips that can help from developing leaders or improving the culture of your organization. 

If you’re interested to do that, or you want to download the Learner Guide, which is a bunch of content in today’s lesson, so you’ll want to do that, please visit maxwellleadership.com/podcast, and there you can fill out a form, we’ll follow back up with you. Or you can download The Learners Guide from today’s lesson. Well, today’s topic is titled, You May Not Be Trusted As Much As You Think. I don’t know what to say about that. I definitely think this might be an intervention. 

Perry Holley: 

It’s an intervention. 

Chris Goede: 

I was going to say, I think you’re paying me back for last week’s podcast where I tried to call you out a little bit on this. 

Perry Holley: 

It was all about me. 

Chris Goede: 

It was all about you. But talk to our audience a little bit about what you’re thinking here in regards to this. 

Perry Holley: 

Yeah, fantastic. Been teaching lately on leader credibility. 

Chris Goede: 

Yeah. 

Perry Holley: 

And love it. Just love thinking, how do you increase your credibility as a leader? And one thing that’s just a key piece of that is trust. It’s the linchpin of everything about your leadership. Actually I’m reading a book. I’ve been reading a lot on trust. But especially one I enjoyed was from someone I had worked with over the years, years ago, Dr. Joe Folkman. And he worked with Jack Zenger, and they do a ton of research. Dr. Folkman had a new book out called The Trifecta of Trust. And in that book… By the by, the trifecta was displaying expertise and good judgment will build trust, demonstrating consistency will build trust, and building relationships will build trust. You can get that from the book. 

One thing he said though, that captured my attention, was that, “You may not be trusted as much.” 45% of leaders, in his research, are not trusted as much as they think they are. And he said there were seven signals that would indicate, and maybe we should pay attention to, that would indicate how much your level of trust or how you could deteriorate your level of trust with your team. I thought we’d cover the seven signals. And highly recommend the book, Trifecta of Trust, by Dr. Joseph Folkman, and see what you think about these things. 

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Chris Goede: 

I think as leaders, because of the intentions we’ve had, we have, and Perry and I have talked about this, with the intent versus perception gap as a communicator, that we tend to overestimate the amount of trust that we have, as you’re talking about here. And I think that’s an interesting conversation because, for us, we believe that leadership is influence, and we believe the currency to all influence is trust. 

And I think also when we talk about, in our teams, people are like, “I need more engagement from my team.” And that 45% you just shared, I was like, “Okay, that’s a big part of an engagement level with our team members.” And if 45% don’t feel like they trust their leaders, there’s a big problem when it comes to getting our teams engaged. 

I’m looking forward to the conversation because this is a little bit of a different, not spin on trust, but a little bit of a different perspective on leaders, remember, anybody that has influence is a leader, overestimating the amount of trust that they might have with their people. 

Perry Holley: 

I figure if I’m not lying, cheating or stealing, I must be trusted. 

Chris Goede: 

Right. That’s right. 

Perry Holley: 

There’s a thousand little things that make that up. I’ll give you the signal and what it means, and then maybe you could comment on that. But by the way, I put this all in the Learner Guide, there’s going to be seven of these, and there’s some details, go ahead and get the Learner Guide that’ll help you with that. But signal one, failure to exercise good judgment. Dr. Folkman says, “Are others confident in your ability to make good decisions?” In accurate judgments, we think that, “Well, I’m the boss, I’m the person in charge. I make all the decisions.” And do people actually have confidence in your ability to make those decisions? 

Chris Goede: 

One of the things that Folkman says in his book is that, “Too often leaders assume that their position, positional leadership, qualifies them to make critical decisions where they may not have the best data and insight.” And this goes back to how we teach influence and leadership at level one where because it just says it right there, they have that position, they’re making some crazy judgements, crazy decision, and your team sitting back going, “He or she has no idea what’s going on. That completely is not the right decision.” And your team loses confidence in you. And you’re basing that off of the fact that because you have the title, because you have a position, you’re qualified to make that decision. And that’s not necessarily the best judgment. What I love about a collaborative leadership style, ultimately listen, when you’re leading, you’re responsible. It’s your decision to make the final decision. 

But you want to up your level of trust with your team is to involve them in that conversation, “What are you seeing that I don’t see? What’s your perspective? How can I make a decision here?” Listen leaders, you don’t have to have all the answers. You don’t have to make all the decisions without people being able to speak into that. Now there’s a cap on that. You don’t need to get too many things in your head, but you definitely need to improve the way that you’re making decisions and your judgment. And by doing that, you will increase the trust that your team has in you and your judgment. 

Perry Holley: 

Yeah, I love that. Inviting a shared voice, inviting others to speak into it. We talk a lot about vulnerability and vulnerability builds trust when you show the three most unused words in leadership, “I don’t know,” to say, “What do you think?” And inviting that for decision. Okay, signal number two, Dr. Folkman says “Hypocritical behavior.” He says, “Are you a role model or could actions sometimes be interpreted as hypocritical? Do you set standards and then ignore them?” It’s better for the but not for me, that type of a thing. What’s your view on that one? 

Chris Goede: 

What we’re talking about here is behavior. We talk so much about behavioral change. And we’re in the behavioral change business. And we want to have our behavioral change at times. We want to always be growing, always be learning. And one of the things that bothers me, and I see it in leaders around the world, I’ll give you just a very simple example. This is corny, but you say, “Hey, I’m a servant leader.” And then you pull into the organization and the front parking spot says Perry Holley versus whatever it might be. 

And I think there’s no doubt that leadership is contagious. And we talk about that people are watching you all the time and you need to be aware of that because when that is happening, people are watching you. And then if that does not align with your audio, people are going to be like, “Well listen, Chris is over here doing this, but he says this, so it might be okay to do that.” 

Perry Holley: 

Right. 

Chris Goede: 

And a lot of us, we learn visually and as leaders, we need to be aware of that to make sure, because people are going to be watching us. And if we’re not aligning what we’re doing physically with what we’re talking about audibly, then we’re not going to have any credibility. We’re not going to have any trust. They’re not going to trust us. 

Perry Holley: 

My son owns a Chick-fil-A restaurant and I ask him, “What’s your biggest leader lesson so far?” He’s new at it. 

Chris Goede: 

Good question. 

Perry Holley: 

And he said, “How much easier it is to ask someone to clean the restrooms when they’ve seen you clean the restrooms.” And it’ll be hypocritical for him to say how important the restroom clean is and how, “We got to the top of this. And by the way, you go do it. I don’t do it.” He said when he got in there, when they see him in there doing it, that they all realize that’s not hypocritical behavior. 

Chris Goede: 

One other comment too, this is a little bit of a pet peeve of mine, is there are things as leaders of teams and of people that you will have never done before, but you’re going to go ask somebody to do and that’s okay. They’re going to be situations like that. What bothers me about it is they go, “Well, it’s not very hard, it shouldn’t take you but about 10 minutes.” And although there are times that I’m not going to have experience in something that I’m asking a team member to do, the way that I talk about it, the way that I approach it needs to be, so now if there’s a chance for me to roll up my sleeves and get in there, it’s the first thing I want to do. Great example of your son. But if there’s not, what I want to encourage you so that you don’t break their trust, is don’t make assumptions as you’re communicating, asking him to do something that you have no idea how long it’s going to take or how hard it is to do. 

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Perry Holley: 

Signal number three, from Trifecta of Trust, Dr. Folkman says, “Inability to show consistency and honor commitments.” Do you say one thing and do another? Do you make promises and you don’t keep them? But that inconsistency and how easy it is to say, “I’ll get that to you, I’m going to look into that.” And then you don’t. You’re not lying, cheating and stealing. But you’re not keeping those small commitments that I think other people keep track of those things. 

Chris Goede: 

We talk about being aware of how you make others feel. And when it comes to commitments, and Folkman says in his book, “It is easy for us to say we can do something,” but while we may forget about that commitment or forget about that, those that we make commitments to, even though it may be easy if we don’t follow through, they always remember that because it’s how we made them feel by not following through, not having consistency when it comes to that. And it’s so important for us as we develop trust to have consistency. The other thing here that we, I’d love to talk about is I think leaders are missing an attribute of being consistent in order to increase your influence and to increase your trust because you have to be at a place to where your team, for the most part, knows what they’re going to get. Because if they don’t, they’re coming in with walls up. They’re coming in, we’re like, “How’s Perry going to react to this request? Is he going to yell at me through this?” 

Perry Holley: 

Which version shows up. 

Chris Goede: 

Yeah, that’s right. I was talking to a friend of mine who is in the cybersecurity world and he just changed organizations. And he changed from a big, big, big firm to a smaller boutique firm, but it’s still a decent size firm. And I said, “How’s it going first couple weeks?” He said, “You know what’s amazing? Is that what is happening with my leader on team meetings and product rollouts is so consistent across the two weeks that I’ve been there, to what they told me in the interview process where people are not screaming at each other, the leader’s not yelling. I see this consistency of this behavior and it’s so refreshing to me.” And I was like, “That’s awesome.” That’s something that I think as leaders, we need to be thinking about. And not only consistent with emotions, but then your follow through. To his point, people will not forget your commitments that you have not followed through with them. And make sure that you’re being very intentional about that. 

Perry Holley: 

Signal number four, as a reminder, these are seven signals that might break trust. You might not be trusted as much as you think you are. Number four, from the book, Trifecta of Trust, is neglecting relationship building practices. Do you make an effort to stay in touch with the issues or concerns of other people? Are you the last to know when other people are having problems? I often write about this. Are people telling you bad news? Do they feel safe coming to you? Do you have that relationship? Do you know people on a personal level, that sort of thing? 

Chris Goede: 

When it comes to relationship for us, I immediately go to level two influence in the five levels of leadership, which is the foundation of everything that we teach it with our clients and with our partners on helping them develop leaders and shift culture inside their organization is to understand that common language. Level two influence is the foundation. John calls it relationships as well. And if you don’t get this right, if you skip over that, what we see in a lot of organizations, is a high turnover number. We see a lot of lack of engagement because people come in with a title, they go right to production and they never build relationships or connect with their people. 

And I think this is the foundation. Now, I also want to make sure you can understand, you can interchange the word relationships with connect. A lot of people go, “I don’t want to build a relationship with Perry,” because they think it’s this warm and fuzzy, but there are ways for you to connect with your team members in a way that allows you to build trust with them and you’re not neglecting them. And there are all kinds of creative ways, projects connect, adversity connects, data connects, whatever it might be. There are ways for you to be able to connect and a lot of people neglect that and, in turn, there’s a lack of trust and there’s a lack of engagement. It just rolls on down the hill. 

Perry Holley: 

I think about it too that we talk about you may climb the levels of leadership on the five level, but you never leave the previous level behind. 

Chris Goede: 

That’s good. 

Perry Holley: 

I think I’ve seen many leaders that go, “I’m so glad that relationship building’s over so we can get down the business.” You’re thinking, “No, no, that’s what’s happening here. The trust begins to fall away when you don’t know me personally.” 

Signal number five, lack of technical, professional expertise. Expertise about your profession. Are you competent in the role or are you out of date with certain aspects of your job? Are you keeping up to be an expert in the space that you’re leading in? 

Chris Goede: 

This is reminds me of a comment that John says, and he’ll say some really funny phrases sometimes, and matter of fact, I’ve even heard him say where sometimes he’ll create words just because he wants them to be in the dictionary, even though they’re not words and then they end up in the dictionary. But he always says this about, especially with technology, but also even leading people in the world we’re in right now, fast is faster than it’s ever been. And because of that, as leaders, we need to make sure that we are always growing and that we are always learning and that we are bringing trends, we’re bringing thoughts, we’re bringing ideas to the team that we are learning as leaders because then that’s going to build trust in the team. 

Versus if we don’t, to your point, and we have a lack of that and things are changing at such a fast pace, then your teams, they’re not going to buy into that. They’re not going to do that. Again, I’ll go back to the statement of leadership is contagious. And when they see you doing that and you don’t have a lack of it, when then you’re going to find them going, “Hey, I was reading this article the other day and I thought about you here.” And all of a sudden you create this environment and this culture of learning with a growth mindset. 

Perry Holley: 

Back to that teachableness we talk about. 

Chris Goede: 

Yeah. 

Perry Holley: 

Signal number six, are you avoiding collaboration and cooperation? Are there groups or individuals in your space that you’re uncooperative with. You have conflict, unresolved conflict with other people in the organization. You’re viewed as being maybe disconnected with other parts of the organization. 

Chris Goede: 

I think when it comes to this, you want to definitely be collaborative. We talked about that a little bit earlier and get cooperation. What I want to encourage you is that doesn’t mean that this is not going to come without any tension or without any conflict. That is going to happen, but you got to handle it the right way. You got to be able to say, “No, no, no, I’m going in this and I want us to collaborate. I want to hear your voice.” They want to feel heard. “I want to know what your perspective is on those things,” because again, then you’re connecting with them. And I want to encourage you not only to be doing this within your team, but I would also encourage you to be doing this with cross-functional teams to begin to spread your influence and your thoughts to bring other people into this so that you really are getting a collaborative approach. 

But then make sure, again, you take the time to make sure everybody feels heard, there’s going to be tension, there is going to be conflict, but the challenge is not to just let it sit there and to work through that. Make sure we’re not avoiding dealing with that. And I’m not saying go out there and stir up conflict. I know some of you listening are like, that’s your favorite thing to do. It’s not my favorite thing to do, but you got to be careful of how you do that because it’s going to happen. Tension’s going to happen and you just got to manage that and you got to lead them through that. And when your team sees you doing that, they’re definitely going to increase the trust in you. 

Perry Holley: 

Signal number seven, absence of communication. Do you keep your team well informed? Do people know what’s going on? Are you talking about progress and changes and new directions? Are people being surprised on your team or do you keep them well informed? 

Chris Goede: 

As we wrap up, this is something that’s personal for me because I always feel like I can do a better job of it. And what’s interesting is that some people on your team want to know everything. Now, maybe it’s not the right time for them to know everything. As a leader, you’re going to know some things before your team and all kind of stuff. Other people, they don’t really care. It’s like, “Hey, what’s my job? We’re good.” And you got to understand how to lead all of them and communicate to all of them and communicate the proper way. There’s different forms of how people like to receive information. 

But when they are surprised, there’s a problem, as a leader. When they’re surprised they will not necessarily trust you. And one of the examples I think about is, again, I’ll use an example Mark Cole has taught me, which is when you’re getting ready to go in and have a tough conversation or communicate with an individual if they’re surprised by what you’re about to tell them or the hard conversation you’re going to have, this is in a conflict situation or a tough conversation, but this goes for even just regular communication, “Hey, Christmas party is Tuesday, December 6th.” 

And all of a sudden it’s the fourth and I’m just now telling my team there’s a problem there. They’re not going to trust me. But when they are surprised by any type of information, it is a decrease in the trust that they’re going to have with you. My last comment is, and I love this quote, this is from, I think Greg Cagle, the first time I ever heard it was, “Authenticity is a trust accelerator.” And everything that Perry just shared with us and the Folkman seven things he brought too, if we will just be authentic as leaders and not try to look different or communicate different or do things differently and we’ll just be authentic that trust, they’re going to feel that. They’re going to know that and they’re going to increase their trust with you, even though you think you have a hundred percent of their trust right now. To Perry’s point and why we’re having this podcast, that’s not the case. 

Perry Holley: 

Excellent. Thank you, Chris. Reminder, if you would like to have the Learner Guide with these seven signals, you can download that as well as leave us a comment or a question. You can also look at some of the offerings that we have. You can do all that at maxwellleadership.com/podcast. We always love hearing from you and we’re very grateful that you would spend this time with us. That’s all today from the Maxwell Leadership Executive Podcast. 

1 thought on "Executive Podcast #213: You May Not Be Trusted as Much as You Think"

  • Edith mwebe says: November 11, 2022 at 3:07 am

    It was such a timely and enlightening discussion I need to improve in all the 7 area, thank you for sharing

    Reply
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