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Monica Wofford, CSP, is a professional speaker and CEO of Contagious Companies, a training and consulting firm that develops better leaders and trains managers how to become better leaders. Her Monday Moment has been a popular leadership learning tool since 2006!

Are you building or blocking development of trust on your team?

Whether a believer in the speed of trust or a leader with a need for more trust on the team, the insights in this Monday Moment help you achieve both. Leaders need trust and some even believe that saying “trust me” is a way to build it. While it’s a powerful phrase, it’s not the builder of loyal employees one might imagine, particular when it’s used to mean any of the following: 

Listen to my Experience

Leaders who have been there and done that, performed the role of those they lead, seen this movie before or for whom this is not their first rodeo, may whip out a “trust me” or two as a way of conveying their experience and encouraging a careful heeding of their advice. To detect this meaning, look for the tone and sincerity. If your leader is appealing to you with conviction, their meaning likely occupies this space. If your leader or you is being more flippant, keep reading.

Ignore my own Doubt

I’ve always taken note of the words “trust me”. Cousins to this phrase are “if I’m being honest” and “to be truthful” that precede many leader declarations or communications. They raise a red flag. Why? Because the assumption one has when receiving communication is usually that this information can be trusted. When phrases that advertise the efficacy of the intel are used, they are usually a reflection of the message sender’s own doubt, either in your ability to believe their message or their doubt behind their own message. And sometimes the phrases are simply filler or habits. When someone says “trust me”, do you?

Pay Attention to my Importance

Leaders who see the need for rapport and trust, but who lack patience, may push the issue. They may rely on their own authority, tout their own importance, and attempt to cajole others to develop trust more quickly than they are able. Trust takes time and is organic. Trust can’t be manufactured, directed, or really even requested and in fact, it develops faster when not requested at all, but clearly demonstrated. While the leader is important, their advertisement of their own importance serves to create the opposite of trust, most often suspicion over their actual, versus stated agenda.

The next time you enter the board room or lead an all hands, you’ll want these insights at hand. Trust me. Hehe! See how it sounds? To be honest with you, I’ve seen many a leader attempt trust strategies and fail. Really, I have. Okay, okay, so you want to build trust with the team and increase your leadership value. Step 1: Be the leader they need you to be in the way the organization needs you to lead. That will be different for each leader and that you can take to the bank. Ah yes, another cousin phrase to “trust me”.

I’m Monica Wofford and that’s your Monday Moment. Have a great week, an even better Monday, and of course, stay contagious!

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