For me, trust is my line in the sand. I inherently trust people - I trust them to do the right things, I trust them to be honest with me, I trust them to do their work in an excellent manner, and I trust them to be ethical in their decisions and actions. I give them trust to begin with (as opposed to them having to earn my trust). I think that because of that starting point, I am also able to be direct with them. Because I trust them (and they know I trust them), I can tell them what I see and observe in their behavior, be it positive or negative. Because they trust me (trust is often reciprocal), they can handle that directness because they know I have their best interest at heart - and more important I have the best interest of the organization at heart. Trust provides the opportunity to be direct...and being direct can build a greater sense of trust.
So how can we make this more of a reality in our own lives and in the lives of our organizations?
- when being direct, shape your comments around the organization, not the individual
- when being direct, reflect how one's weaknesses are often a result of the overuse of their strengths
- when being direct, be sure to note that you may be wrong (and if so, allow the person to tell you so)
- when being direct, state the issue and let it go (do not beat the person up with negative comments)
- when being direct, be sure you have your facts straight
- when being direct, be sure to follow up to see if the behavior has changed
- when being direct, do so with an empathetic heart, mind and voice
- when being direct, trust that the comment will be taken in the spirit in which it is given
What do you think? Is there a connection here? What does an organization look like when trust and directness is present in all areas? And while this post seems to infer trust and directness from a superior to a subordinate, does the same hold true from the subordinate to the superior - and/or across similar levels? And ultimately, where trust and directness is a part of the culture, does an organization even need levels?