Are you trusted?

building trustThis statistic stopped me cold: 60% of the participants in a 2009 international study trusted a stranger more than they trusted their boss. Yikes, how sad.

In doing a quick mental tally of bosses I’ve had, unfortunately this figure didn’t seem too far off. Many of those bosses didn’t grasp that in times of rapid change and uncertainty (which is the new normal for business) people turn to relationships and those whom they trust.

“The truth is that trust rules,” writes Pamela S. Shockley-Zalabak in Building High-trust Organizations.  ”Trust rules your personal credibility. Trust rules your ability to get things done. Trust rules your team’s cohesiveness. Trust rules your organization’s innovativeness and performance. Trust rules your brand image. Trust rules just about everything you do.”

The handful of bosses from my past who “got it” about building personal trust had mastered these five elements:

1) They were transparent communicators. They came, listened and spoke without hidden agendas or ulterior motives. They avoided making bite-you-in-the-butt-later remarks like “This is the last time we’ll have layoffs” or “This is the toughest decision I’ve ever had to make.”

2) They practiced consistent consistency.  There were no say-do gaps because they did what they said they were going to do. They didn’t hesitate to advise their team members of their shortcomings and were extremely tactfully in doing so.  Problems weren’t glossed over and/or ignored; they were resolved.

3) They defined clear roles, responsibilities and expectations.  They made it clear what they expected you to do. You knew ahead of time how your performance would be measured.  And they trusted you to take care of your job.

4) They gave everyone and everything equal consideration.  These men and women lived out fairness and justice in how they allocated outcomes, dealt with processes and handled interpersonal treatment.  There were no favorites or overblown platitudes like “This is the best work I’ve ever seen” or “You’re just the greatest.” They were open to alternate points of view, practiced diversity, and created inclusion.

5) They were character role models. Research tells us that perceptions of a leader’s characteristics, things like integrity, credibility and fairness, shape how employees will behave in the workplace. “…individuals who feel that their leader has, or will, demonstrate care and consideration will reciprocate this sentiment in the form of desired behaviors,” writes professor K.T. Dirks. They balanced selfish and selfless acts. Everyone had equal access, whether they had power or not. They did good and were good.

“Trust is the glue of life. It’s the most essential ingredient in effective communication. It’s the foundational principle that holds all relationships.” ~Stephen R. Covey



Joyful giving

spirit of givingRichelle E. Goodrich shares a lovely story that illuminates the joyful spirit of giving — may you enjoy it today!

“What is the spirit of Christmas, you ask? Let me give you the answer in a true story…

On a cold day in December, feeling especially warm in my heart for no other reason than it was the holiday season, I walked through the store sporting a big grin on my face.

Though most people were far too busy going about their business to notice me, one elderly gentleman in a wheelchair brought his eyes up to meet mine as we neared each other traveling opposite directions. He slowed in passing just long enough to speak to me.

‘Now that’s a Christmas smile if I ever saw one,’ he said.

My lips stretched to their limit in response, and I thanked him for the compliment. Then we went our separate ways. But, as I thought about the man and how sweetly he’d touched me, I realized something simply wonderful! In that brief, passing interaction we’d exchanged heartfelt gifts!

And that, my friend, is the spirit of Christmas.”

Image credit:  Heaventears




Coping with 4 kinds of really awful bosses

really bad bossConvinced you’re stuck with the worst boss in the world? Well, your boss may have serious competition according to a five-year comparative study of bad bosses commissioned by Lynn Taylor Consulting.

According to this study, seven out of ten people believe bosses and toddlers act alike. Being self-oriented is noted as the top offending boss behavior. Being stubborn, overly demanding, impulsive and interrupting round out the top five. Continue reading


Anonymous letter to a narcissistic boss

narcissistic bossThree nearly identical stories shared with me in just two days that really hit my hot buttons. These were stories of individual and/or group annoyance, confusion and heartbreak caused by narcissistic control-freak bosses. 

Most of us at some point in our career have worked for a boss like this. Bosses who aren’t self-aware or open to feedback, so no amount of magic or mojo will help them listen. They don’t care how much we care or have to tell them or want to help them. Continue reading


Decision making six-pack

6 parts to making good decisions“It’s official. My boss is a jerk. He told me this morning he thinks my decision to go with a new printing vendor was bad.”

“Did he give you a reason for feeling that way?”

“He says it’s going to create problems for the marketing team and that I should have talked to them.”

“You did talk to them, didn’t you?” Continue reading


Don’t respond to criticism like this

3 lessons for handling criticismIn my book of leadership fair play, a basic rule is praising in public and criticizing in private. Making people look — and feel — stupid or foolish or ill-advised (no matter how atrocious their offense) in front of others is just plain wrong.

So imagine my shock and surprise to have a project partner level some hard-hitting criticism my way during a conference call with the project sponsor. The project was co-authoring an article for online publication.  We passed the article back and forth via email countless times as we edited and refined the content. Continue reading


Dealing with crabby colleagues

dealing with crabby colleaguesThere’s one in nearly every work group — that certain someone whose words and/or demeanor gets you all fired up. Perhaps their opinions and values are worlds apart from yours. Maybe they plain don’t like you. Could be a personality clash. Who knows.

But whatever the reason for the conflict, you can’t avoid or ignore them because your job requires you to interact with them.

So what’s a professional gal to do? What all savvy business women do: Take the personal high road and manage yourself. Continue reading


Face stereotypes or flee?

facing stereotypesI belong to a business club downtown. It’s a great place for meetings, one-on-one discussions and the occasional introspective time (fueled by their extraordinary chocolate chip cookies).

There were two of us in the member’s library that rainy afternoon – a white-haired gentleman and me. The gentleman had been on phone call after phone call, and I was in my “happy place” — a reflective frame of mind where I’m blissfully alone and totally immune to what’s going on around me.

Suddenly I’m aware of a shouting voice…one that’s directed at me. Continue reading