Liars are everywhere – building trust among those you lead

Scripture of the Week – Psalm 144:10-11: To the One who gives victory to kings, who delivers his servant David. From the deadly sword deliver me; rescue me from the hands of foreigners whose mouths are full of lies, whose right hands are deceitful.

Welcome to the first Blog Post for The Consultant and The Coach. Subscribe here for the weekly blog or here for the weekly podcast so we can help you along your journey. Also, for this week’s content, here’s a shout out to Patrick Lencioni’s The Five Dysfunctions of a Team – we’re leaning on some of his material as a backdrop to discuss our own experience helping teams with dysfunction.

How well do you deal with being lied to? How much does it hurt? When do you remember first being lied to in your life? How early in childhood? Was it by a friend, sibling, teacher, a relative or worst of all a parent? These issues of lying cut us deep and limit our capacity to trust others. This is important because as we seek to overcome dysfunction among the teams we lead, in our families and in our communities, we must first address capacity to trust within ourselves and those we lead.

Now let’s start with what dysfunction is and how to spot it. First, we must recognize the problems we are trying to solve come from some sort of dysfunction or misalignment of the world in which we live. As we grow as people and organizations, our ability to diagnose and solve problems should grow with us. The problem with dysfunction arrives when there is unnecessary pain inflicted on those attempting to overcome the problem – likely caused by or at least including leaders like us!

What do we mean? One example is when Josh (The Consultant) was working for a CEO on a highly sensitive strategic initiative. The CEOs deeply dysfunctional behavior included an obsession with perfection even with the smallest details. This fostered a toxic environment for everyone involved. It was not the perfection he was seeking that was the problem but rather the negative attitude, demeanor and behavior he exhibited towards everyone he encountered.

What does this mean for you as a leader? The first thing we do with leaders is help them recognize their role in the dysfunction around them and learn to admit it. This goes a long way towards building trust among your team when they know you do not see yourself as perfect and are willing to own your role in the problems the organization faces.

The next thing we help leaders do is establish reasonable expectations of their team members, communicate them clearly and hold people accountable. Failing in any of these three fronts can exacerbate dysfunction when facing problems together as a team. Too many or too little expectations likely causes people to leave. Poor communication frustrates team members and lead to underperformance. Not holding everyone accountable causes animosity among the team.

So what are some ways The Consultant and The Coach help their clients deal with trust and their team? Here are some insider tips:

The Consultant

  • Deeply understand the culture, history, business model, strategy and leadership characteristics of the organization
  • Be patient – change takes time
  • Ask good questions – lead clients and leaders to the answers
  • Trust that no one knows their situation better than the leader who’s living it

The Coach

  • Competency – how well do you and your team do their jobs?
  • Character – which character flaws may be inhibiting success?
  • Community – how is the leader/client surrounded by support?

Thanks everyone! Once you help your teams get past the trust issues, there’s a lot more to do. Subscribe here for next week’s blog post.