Tag Archive for: Trust

Is it ever okay to lie at work?

What upsets me is not that you lied to me, but that I can no longer believe in you. – Friedrich Nietzsche

No. It is never okay to lie at work.

But you have to understand that, while telling the truth is vital to establishing trust, truth-telling has to be tempered with skill, tact, and good judgment. Truth without respect is not truth at all. It’s brutality. The kind of truth when your four-year old says you look fat in a bathing suit lacks maturity and sensitivity. You expect that from a four-year old, but not a forty-year old.

Sometimes we need to withhold information or temper the truth with discretion because we deem it best for the greater good or for the good of the person on the receiving end.

In “The Speed of Trust,” Stephen Covey tells a story about his father in a clothing store in Canada. As he was considering the cost of purchasing a fairly expensive coat, he mentioned that he would have to add to the duty tax that would be imposed when he returned to the U.S:

“Don’t worry about the duty,” the store manager said. “Just wear it! Then you won’t have to pay the tax.”

“But I have to declare the things I’ve bought and am bringing into the country,” my father explained.

“Don’t declare it; just wear it,” the manager said once again. “Don’t worry about the tax.”

My father was silent for a moment, and then said, “Look, frankly I’m not as worried about having to pay the tax as I am about that new salesperson you’re training. He’s learning from you. What is he going to think when you sign his commission? What kind of trust is he going to have in you in guiding his career?”

So… if you want to build trust, good will, and respect in the workplace, it’s never okay to lie.

Depositing Into The Trust Account

I learned years ago from my mentor, Steve Covey, about the emotional bank account.

We all know what a financial bank account is. We make deposits into it and build up a reserve from which we can make withdrawals when we need to. An Emotional Bank Account is a metaphor describing the amount of trust built up in a relationship. If we invest in a relationship, we are bound from time to time, either knowingly or unknowingly, to make withdrawals.

The key is to be sure that you always have something in the account to withdraw from. Always be sure your deposits are more than your withdrawals.

Here’s some example of deposits:

  • Courtesy and Kindness
  • Honoring your agreements
  • Showing appreciation and recognition (in ways that are meaningful to the recipient)
  • Apologizing
  • Humility, being open to learn from others
  • Truly listening, with empathy, for their concerns, their desires, and what matters to them
  • Taking responsibility for your actions
  • Taking people for coffee

Here’s some examples of making withdrawals:

  • Discourtesy and disrespect
  • Ignoring the people in your life and the mistakes you make in your relationships
  • A lack of openness to listen or to get feedback
  • Arrogance, being closed to learning
  • Being blind to the impact your actions are having on others or the mistakes you make
  • Abuse of power
  • Blaming, complaining, and gossiping
  • Taking people for granted

I’d love to hear about how you make deposits or withdrawals into the trust account in the relationships in your life.

Five Common Mistakes Leaders Make That Break Trust

We all understand the importance of trust and how it’s the glue that holds organizations together. However, trust is like a delicate flower. What can take years to earn can be destroyed in a decision.

What are the biggest mistakes leaders make to break trust – and how can we avoid them? We all get that lying, stealing, committing fraud, or making ethical or legal violations will destroy trust. But there are also more subtle, pervasive, corrosive actions that will erode trust in relationships if we aren’t conscious.

  1. Making sloppy agreements. Don’t be vague about when you’ve promised to do something.
  2. Not showing up on time. Some people don’t care if you’re five minutes late to a meeting. For others, it will cost you a contract or even a job. Why take the chance?
  3. Gossip. Make up your mind to be loyal in people’s absence. It will earn you self-respect and the respect of others.
  4. Not delivering on promises. Be a person who never makes a promise they don’t intend to keep.
  5. Covering up errors. No one will ever think less of you for putting your hand up and saying, “I’m responsible for that.”

Are you guilty of any of the mistakes that erode trust? Decide to be a leader that fosters trust by avoiding the mistakes that break trust.

We can understand, at least intellectually, that straight talk is critical to trust.

Yet how do you embrace it when you have grown up trying to keep the peace, be nice, or avoid the hard truths?

1. Be Intentional.

Straight Talk is important enough that we have made it one of our team values.

2. Be clear.

How we define it and describe it. We Talk Straight:

a) We are direct and open in our communication with each other.
b) We tell the truth; we are transparent and aren’t afraid to confront reality.
c) We face the brutal facts; we don’t skirt the real issues.
d) We choose to be genuine over being polite.
e) We are loyal in people’s absence.

3. Get an Agreement.

While the team agreed we would talk straight with each other and act in alignment with these behaviours, we also included four critical components in the agreement:

a) None of us will do it perfectly.
b) We will ask for help to be direct at any time with anyone.
c) We will communicate directly with anyone at any time if it appears that any of us – likely unintentionally – is not honoring this agreement.
d) We will practice patience as we practice this skill: direction is more important than velocity.

4. Reinforce the message.

We set aside time in meetings to shine a light on, and celebrate, success stories (e.g. When in the past week did we experience people being direct with each other?)

Fears, Trust, And the Human Experience

When our daughters were much younger, we went on a family “adventure” to the Fantasyland Hotel in West Edmonton Mall and took in a ride in the submarine. After boarding, the hatch closed, and as we “descended,” the guide began safety instructions. The moment she said, “if any of you get claustrophobic…” I immediately started hyperventilating. My heart was racing and felt like it would explode. I was nauseous and dizzy. My lifelong fear of closed spaces took over and I went into a full-blown anxiety attack.

My family knew what was happening. Chandra got the guide’s attention who helped me ascend through the safety hatch. I climbed out the escape trunk, got into a row boat in the middle of a mall in six feet of water, and was escorted to back to pier.

We’ve had lots of good laughs about it all over the years. But underneath the humor, there is a deep respect for each other in our family. We all understand that anxiety is no laughing matter.

A few years after the submarine incident, we went caving in Northern Utah. We all knew this would be a challenge for me. I sweated it for weeks before we got there.

At Timpanogos Cave, I learned we would be 90 minutes in a confined space. “You don’t have to do this, Dad,” my young girls kindly said. The first thing I did was tell the guide, Royce, about my claustrophobia. He looked me right in the eyes with kindness and care that I’ll never forget. He gave me the flashlight and said, “Come right up front, right beside me. We’ll get you through this. You aren’t alone.”

I did get through it. One step at a time. With the love and support of my family and Royce, who guided me, not just through the cave, but to a newfound bravery and courage.

At the end of a tour, Royce shares his passion and love for these magnificent caves and offers a challenge:

“Most of us will never discover a cave, but each of us has an opportunity to discover something that we truly care about, something that we love. It might be music, mathematics, art, dance, languages, science, athletics, neighborhood parks, or a million other things. Just as our lives are better today because of the Timpanogos Cave Committee, the challenge is for us to use our energies and talents so that one-hundred years from now, life will be better for people and for this planet because we were here.”

CIVILITY AMID DIVERSITY  How To Rebuild Trust in A Fractured World

As Canadians, we were collectively shocked and dismayed at the spate of divisive behavior across this country recently. And now, the crisis in the Ukraine has given our situation in Canada a new perspective. The disunity in our country appears to be indicative of the divisions in our communities, our workplaces, and even our families. It’s been said that a crisis doesn’t determine a person; a crisis reveals a person. Although I’m not sure that we are not any more divided today than we have always been, the dissection has been exposed and amplified.
We used to be able to leave our political, religious, and personal value differences at our office and front doors. But in the pandemic, policies that govern our behaviors with the intent to protect us, have inadvertently divided us.
In short, politics and personal values are now in our face. As teams are balancing a return to the office with remote work, the challenge in front of us is how to rebuild trust in a fractured world.
To rebuild trust requires deep understanding of each other without the need to correct, fix, or “straighten out.” You must get beneath the surface of opinions, positions, views and even values, and connect with the deeper emotions to begin healing what divides us. It’s critical to shift the goal from agreement to understanding. You don’t have to have the same values to value someone. What you do have to do is separate the person from the issue.
Here’s a little model I learned from teams who are debriefing and recovering from trauma. It’s called the SELF model:
Story. Everyone has a story from the pandemic. Let’s take the time to understand each other’s stories that are coming out from the past two years. We just don’t know what people have been through.
Emotions. The past two years have been a form of collective trauma. What emotions have been a part of your experience over this time? What have you had to give up? Where have feelings such as self-doubt, loneliness, fear, excitement, clarity, or anger been a part of your reality? What have you done with these emotions?
Loss. Since the beginning of the pandemic we all lost something and are going through the grief process to some degree. Here are a few losses: our health, a loved one, some of our freedoms, spontaneity, rituals in gatherings like funerals and weddings and church services. I’m not making a judgement. I’m simply stating the obvious and facing reality.
Future. The future depends on the decisions we make today. How will we rebuild? What do we need to feel safe and supported? What needs to be let go of so we can create an opening for change? What do we need to say good-bye to? What decisions need to be made? (e.g. to let go of blame and judgement and resentment; decide to be a contributor instead of a consumer, a builder rather than a destroyer)
A crisis is too significant to be wasted. Let’s embrace this time of difficulty and allow the pain to break us open so a stronger, wiser and kinder self and a better world can emerge.