5 Ways to Build Trust

Team of climbers on the summit.One thing we know for sure – high levels of trust are necessary for high levels of performance! The research findings of Megan Tschannen-Moran clearly support this assertion. Coach leaders who have internalized this premise are intentional about employing trust-building strategies on a daily basis. Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Make relationships a priority. We are in the people business and relationships are everything. Treat them as such. Susan Scott reinforces this concept in her book, “Fierce Conversations” when she says, “The conversation is the relationship.” Relational trust is built on a day-to-day basis. The small things make a BIG difference. Find authentic ways to make daily deposits into others’ emotional bank accounts.
  2. Show personal regard. Invest time in personally knowing others . . . their hopes, fears, and dreams, what they care deeply about. It can be as simple as speaking to someone about her grandchildren, acknowledging the college from which someone has graduated, or asking about a sick child. It might also include knowing that I love chocolate, recognizing the contribution I have made, asking my opinion about something important to the school, or dropping me a note of appreciation for being a masterful educator.
  3. Be a committed listener. Offer full presence to others. Listen twice as much as you speak as suggested by the fact that we have two ears and one mouth. Find ways to be more “interested” than to be “interesting”. People are hungry for this kind of listening.
  4. Use reflective feedback. The language we use is a signal of trust in the relationship. It demonstrates our belief in others by clarifying, recognizing the benefit or value of who a person is and what he/she has accomplished while provoking thinking for consideration of future possibilities.
  5. Promote thinking rather than advice giving. David Rock’s book, “Quiet Leadership,” asserts that the best way to improve the performance of another is to improve his thinking. Asking reflective questions over telling advances the thinking of the other person, creating new hardwiring that substitutes short-term solutions for long-term capacity building.

While this may sound like good common sense, we know that common sense is often not common. Ironically, trust begets trust – when we give it away, it returns to us tenfold. Presuming positive intent by believing that others “can do!” has a huge payoff. Putting these strategies into practice requires our constant intention, commitment, and focus.

How are you intentionally building trust in your relationships with others on a daily basis? What are YOUR top five ways to build trust?

Three Good Reasons Why It’s OK to Let Your Vulnerability Show

tightropeSooner or later, all leaders come face-to-face with a state of uncertainty, a sense of high risk, or emotional exposure. You know what it feels like – it’s those vulnerability moments, somewhat like tight rope walking, when you think, “How do I best handle this situation?” Or, “Good grief, why me?” It’s that space where you wonder if you have the strength and know-how to do what’s called for at that time.

We know from current neuroleadership findings and from the work of researches like Brene’ Brown (Daring Greatly, 2012) that it serves us no benefit to ignore our feelings. Instead, let’s identify them and decide how best to deal with them in order to get the greatest results.

Here are three good reasons why it’s important to let your vulnerability show.

  1. Vulnerability requires honesty and courage. To learn a new skill, especially one that takes you out of your comfort zone, calls for you to step up and through a place of uncertainty. You have to be willing to let yourself be seen as not knowing and that can make you feel uncomfortable – vulnerable. However, on the other side of vulnerability, when you face it head on and dare to deal with it, is a feeling of relief, satisfaction and accomplishment. You’ve got to believe you can do it, even if you are not yet there.

    Take Kelly (pseudo name), for example. Kelly was promoted to a new role with much greater responsibility. In the privacy of our coaching conversations, she said out loud – for us both to hear – that she felt scared and unsure that she could do all that was expected of her.  Then, when she remembered past experiences of similar feelings and the ways she overcame those feelings, she increased her courage to move forward and to reach for things she’d not yet experienced in her career. Kelly is accomplishing great things at work, even as she continues to face up and deal with new vulnerability experiences.

  2. Owning your vulnerability can transform the way you lead. Dare to show up and let yourself be seen. That means taking off the protective armor that keeps the real you from showing up. Protecting yourself from being vulnerable is actually a measure of fear and disconnection. If you spend your life waiting until you’re perfect or totally protected before you walk into a new situation, you may very well miss opportunities and forgo relationships that are unrecoverable.

    During our seminars, we ask people to challenge the limits of their potential as they learn new skills and ways of leading and to be ok not knowing as they move toward a place of knowing. That calls for being vulnerable. Some people gladly receive the challenge and others hold back, or become timid as they think about or experience the discomfort of looking like they don’t know. Those that step into the challenge experience greater results than those who hold back.

  3. Vulnerability cultivates trust.  Other people are watching you. In fact, many begin to take on your behaviors. They don’t have to know all your deep feelings, but when they know that you’re a leader who’s vulnerable, who opens up with your coach or other trusted colleagues, who tries things out and if they fail, owns up to the failures, then the climate of trust increases.

At CFR Global, we pledge to support you in becoming more competent, confident and courageous school leaders. That only happens when you let your vulnerability show.

By Vicky Dearing, PPC

10 Ways To Build Trust

One thing we know for sure – high levels of trust are necessary for high levels of performance!   The research findings of Megan Tschannen-Moran clearly support this assertion.  Coach leaders who have internalized this premise are intentional about employing trust-building strategies on a daily basis.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Make relationships a priority. We are in the people business and relationships are everything.  Treat them as such.  Susan Scott reinforces this concept in her book, Fierce Conversations when she says, “The conversation is the relationship.”
  2. Show personal regard. Invest time in personally knowing others . . . their hopes, fears, and dreams, what they care deeply about.  It can be as simple as speaking to someone about her grandchildren, acknowledging the college from which someone has graduated, or asking about a sick child.  It might also include knowing that I love chocolate, giving me a pat on the back for a job well done, asking my opinion about something important to the school, or dropping me a note of appreciation for being a masterful educator.
  3. Make daily deposits. Relational trust is built on a day-to-day basis.  It’s the small things that make a BIG difference.  Find authentic ways to make deposits into my emotional bank account every day.
  4. Be a committed listener. Offer full presence to others.  Listen twice as much as you speak as suggested by the fact that we have two ears and one mouth.  It is a gift that people are hungry for.
  5. Keep your promises. When you say you will do something, do it without fail.  This demonstrates your trustworthiness and integrity which opens the door for even greater trust in the relationship.
  6. Use reflective feedback. The language we use is a signal of trust in the relationship.  Choosing to offer feedback that is reflective in nature, delivers the message AND enhances the relationship.  It clarifies, acknowledges the value potential, and promotes the thinking of the receiver as one considers additional possibilities and options for future action.
  7. Promote thinking rather than advice giving. David Rock’s book, Quiet Leadership, asserts that the best way to improve the performance of another is to improve his thinking.  Asking reflective questions over telling mediates the thinking of the other person, creating new hardwiring that substitutes short-term solutions for long-term capacity building.
  8. Articulate expectations and standards. Be clear about what you expect with regard to performance.  What are the drop dead essentials for working in your school or district?  In what ways do you communicate these essentials to those who are most affected?
  9. Trust others. As ironic as this may seem, increasing our own trust of others, can build trust.  Presume positive intent by believing that they “can do!”
  10. Celebrate successes. Say “thank you” on a regular basis to individuals as well as the collective group.  We all “crave” recognition and want to know that we are doing something worthwhile and doing it well.

While this may sound like good common sense, we know that common sense is often not common.  Putting these strategies into practice requires our constant intention, commitment, and focus. How will you intentionally build trust in your relationships with others on a daily basis?  What are your top ten ways to build trust?

By Karen Anderson, PCC
Coaching for Results Global

To Trust or Not to Trust: That is NOT the Question

TrustOne thing we know for sure is that rarely do high levels of performance exist without high levels of trust!  Additionally, the research of Bryk and Schnieder reported in Trust in Schools offers the eye-opening correlate that low achievement always includes low levels of TRUST.

Thus, the question of whether to trust or not to trust is irrelevant. We MUST develop high levels of trust if we want peak performance of everyone in the school environment. And, the standard or expectation begins with us – the school leader.

Megan Tschannen-Moran gives us this definition of trust, “. . . one’s willingness to be vulnerable to another based on the confidence that the other is benevolent, honest, open, reliable, and competent.”

Let’s consider a deeper understanding of the origin and make up of trust.  Draw a Venn Diagram of two overlapping circles.  Label one circle as “trustworthiness” and the other as “trusting.”

Complete this sentence by naming three words that are synonymous with being trustworthy. “For me, trustworthiness is the same as being __________, ___________, and ___________.”

Perhaps you named synonyms such as dependable, reliable, or one who is able to hold a confidence.  Other possibilities might include responsible, honest, or truthful.

Now, do the same for trusting.  “When one is trusting, she is __________, ___________, and ____________.”

Hopeful, believing, and naïve may have come to mind. This is where the notion of vulnerability expressed in Tschannen-Moran’s definition emerges.  One must have faith, confidence, and even a degree of gullibility to be truly trusting of others.

Where these two circles intersect is where TRUST resides. The goal is to continue to increase this area so that there is more and more overlap. This happens as equal amounts of trustworthiness and trusting grow within a school or organization.

Almost without fail, educators report that one of these concepts is easier to demonstrate than the other. Consider this for yourself.  Of “trustworthiness” or “trusting” which is easier for you to do?”  My hunch is that you said what most say;  “trustworthiness” is easier because it’s about greater control and less vulnerability. There is less risk when being trustworthy over being trusting.

The bottom line, however, is regardless of which is easier, both must be evident for high levels of trust to be present.  Knowing this compels us to take the risk to be more vulnerable and to model what we want by trusting others.  What are your strategies for increasing the degree of trust in your school? . . . with your teachers? . . . with your students?

By Karen Anderson, PCC
Coaching for Results Global

Karen is the co-authored of the  book, RESULTS Coaching: The New Essential for School Leaders

References:
Byrk, A. & Schneider, B. (2002). Trust in schools:  A Core Resource for Improvement. New York: Russell Sage Foundation Pub.

Tschannen-Moran, M. (2004) Trust matters: Leadership for Successful Schools. San Francisco, CA:  Jossey-Bass.