296: Building a Culture of Trust

13 Minutes Read

Trust. It's the key ingredient for any good relationship, at home or in business.

And creating it in your team is how you grow. Trust in your team allows you to delegate, to communicate, to mentor and inspire them.

Building trust is not just how you win, but it's the best way to win. Trust always feels good.

But it isn't easy to create, since there are so many ways people (including ourselves) can fall short and break that trust.

In this week's episode, Erin and Steve explore:

  • Which actions build trust in your leadership, and which erode it
  • How to make a mistake and still build trust
  • How to make it easier for people to ask for help, admit mistakes, and trust each other

Other topics include: the power of a sincere apology, leading by example in creating culture, practicing transparency to create trust, the role of values and vision in trust, the trust quilt, when it's okay to micro-manage, and more.


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If you want a coach to help you build more trust within your team, we have openings for new VIP one-to-one clients. Learn more and book a consultation here.

Listen to this week's episode on Apple Podcasts here

Listen to it on Spotify here

Watch the video here

Full Transcript

Steve Haase  0:01  
Welcome to the Superabound podcast with master coaches Erin Aquin and Steve Haase, where entrepreneurs and leaders learn coaching tools to help you build a business you love. You are listening to Episode 296: Building a Culture of Trust. Welcome, everybody. Thank you for joining us today. The conversation is all about the fundamental currency of business and relationships. Trust, it's one of those things that is, so ever present, we almost missed the fact that it's there. But if you really peel back the layers, underneath your closest relationships, your best functioning teams is very strong trust. And so today we are going to explore what does it look like to build it as a leader? How do you make sure you're on the same page with everybody? And ask the questions you need to ask get the information that you need, while still adding to that trust. A lot of people think that asking questions or kind of probing deeper or questioning somebody is against that sense of trust. But the opposite is actually true. There are ways of working with people that build that trust, no matter where it is that you need to go in the conversation or in your business. So we hope you enjoy this deep dive into how to create a team that basically functions not on its own, but feels good, right? It feels good, it's aligned with your values. You don't have to be micromanaging everybody. But you can also ask the questions that you need. If you want support in building your leadership style of creating trust, we would love to speak with you about that. We still have openings for our free, no obligation, visionary meetings, which allow you to kind of tap into that future leader that you want to be and bring those insights back to the present moment. So you can evolve your leadership style. Head over to besuperabound.com/consultation. To learn more, and book yours today. Let's dive in.

Erin Aquin  2:18  
Yeah, I've done some episodes about trust before. When I was when this was a relationship podcast, if you scroll back, like 100 episodes, it did one about trust. And they use you as my example. And I remember this because you were working in an office. And I said, I trust that Steve is at work right now. But he could be on a yacht somewhere by now he could have gotten an early flight, flown somewhere and just been somewhere else. So I think we should link to that. It's probably fun. And you can see how far we've grown and how far we've come. But I think the idea is about trust or sound. And we're going to talk about trust today.

Steve Haase  3:10  
Absolutely, particularly trust in a work context, because a lot of people feel that if they trust someone, they should just accept what that person has to say. And that can lead to some pretty bad situations, because sometimes what they have to say, isn't accurate. And so there's a difference between trusting someone, and ensuring that everyone is on the same page using good information and, you know, working towards the same ends.

Erin Aquin  3:40  
That's actually interesting, because I feel like if you actually trust someone at a deep level, it gives you more room to question it gives you more room to be honest, because you're trusting a person you're trusting that they will be able to handle your ideas and your thoughts. Like people who I don't trust, I'm much more like tippy toe round. Because I'm like, I don't know, if this person's going to explode or lose their mind. I don't have these situations at my workplace. But definitely. I feel like I'm more careful with people who I don't necessarily trust, which is interesting. Yeah.

Steve Haase  4:23  
And so I think the the key differentiator here is what creates trust in a relationship versus what creates, like trust in the data. There are two different things. And yet we often mix them up. Right? So trust in a relationship, trusting the person comes down to believing in their integrity, because you've seen that they have integrity, believing that they have your best interests in mind, as well as their own. So When they share something, they aren't trying to get one over on you, they aren't trying to trick you in any way. You believe that you're on the same team, right? Trust in somebody in a relationship means we're on the same team. And without that, there is no work that can be done, right. You can't buy from that person, you can't work with that person. Because you'll never know you'll never feel safe in actually putting your energy behind them, supporting them saying yes to their proposals or anything, because it might not be in your best interests.

Erin Aquin  5:40  
Okay, that sounds good. But I actually see it a different way. Yeah. I think that's beautiful. But I think the way that I've watched this kind of go down for a lot of people in relationships and like business or personal relationships, is that sometimes it's more helpful not to think of trust as this like blanket, where you you either have it or you don't, it's like all or nothing. But actually think about trust as more of like, I don't know why this is the image is coming. It's not a it's not a one fabric blanket. It's a quilt. There's like little patches, where you can trust different facets of a person, their ability to do different things. But it's, it's complicated. And sometimes you shift things around, like, I can trust that my children love me, I can trust that they will, for the most part, you know, brush their teeth when I asked them to for the most part. But I don't trust them to drive the car. Because they're six and eight. They don't have that skill. They don't know what they're doing. It would be foolish of me to trust them to do that. Doesn't mean I don't trust them and their hearts as people but like, I actually think that sometimes it's more helpful to like, be really specific about what we're talking about. Because there are things that I trust people, I trust them with my life, but like I wouldn't maybe trust them to cook a nice dinner. Not us specifically, you can cook.

Steve Haase  7:35  
Well, and the idea. One of my favorite books that addresses this specifically, they talk about task relevant maturity. Yeah, right. And so if you're talking to your CMO, and they say, here's the data on the campaign, and here's you know, anything about marketing, they should be at a level where you can just fully trust that information. Now, that's not to say that you can't question it and say, Well, you know, show me more about that, where did you get it and really dive into that detail. But their maturity for the task of marketing is really high. And so you don't need to follow along or give them any instruction, necessarily. Whereas someone who's brand new in a marketing role at your company, their maturity for how you do marketing is going to be very low. And so they'll need the step by step checklist, they'll need to run their work by you before they ship it. Until such point comes where they are writing the checklist, and they're the one overseeing the work that's being shipped. But that's going to come through time in that task as they mature.

Erin Aquin  8:42  
Yeah, and I mean, I think trust is something that people i This is maybe an unpopular opinion, I don't think people earn trust. I think trust is actually a choice that you make sure that you bestow on other people. Because if trust is something that's only ever earned, what happens if the CMO makes a mistake? If they type in the wrong numbers, and it's not like a nefarious mistake, it's just like a human error. Do we lose all trust with that person? Or do we say you know, what, how do we put a I think as I think business specifically to it's like, okay, that some ball was dropped, some mistake was made. It's not that we don't now trust that person. It's just that we see that, okay, we need maybe a backup plan. We need a human error check. Maybe we do need a second person who that new marketing person should just double check the numbers for a little while, so we make sure that we're not missing something important. Does it mean we never trust that person again? I don't know. But I do think it's it's helpful to remember that trust is not something that is earned in my opinion. It is something you you give But and therefore you have to know what your parameters are. Sorry, but there's heavy lifting for you. Yeah. How does trust get earned? How does it get taken away? How when you bestow trust on someone? What is the criteria for that? When you change your mind about that? What is the criteria for that? A lot of people when you ask them, I know this from coaching a million people on relationships, they have no idea what their trust criteria is. They'll say, Well, I trust someone if they're trustworthy. What the hell does that mean? I trust them, if they never lie to me, they never make a mistake. How do you know 100%? That they're not lying to you? How do you know 100%, that they're not making mistakes, you would actually have to not trust them to find that out? Well,

Steve Haase  10:47  
and I think what this brings up is some level of checking some level of, you know, quality control, as it were, where every now and then especially if your gut says something, something's up or not sure, not sure about this, or even just, hey, it's been a while since you know, whatever. Can you walk me through your thinking around these numbers? Can you walk me through the process that you use to develop this report that we then base some big decisions on that occasional, hey, let's make sure we're on the same page, so that you're as empowered as possible. And I'm fully behind you, as the analyst as the you know, cmo will actually rather than kind of breaking down that trust, can be an exercise in up selling even more and feeling better communication tighter and tighter connection with that person. And

Erin Aquin  11:51  
being honest with yourself about why you're bestowing trust and why you're not. I think I've heard a lot of people find out that someone on their team over the years has maybe done something that was a big mistake that wasn't admitted to this is like all drama, and every company, if you work in a company, this will come up. But a lot of the not sharing mistakes, actually comes from employees, not trusting that their manager will support them, help them figure that out, we'll help them keep their job if they've made a mistake. A lot of the what we might call in another context, untrustworthy behavior, actually comes from people not believing that the people that they work with have their back, they haven't bestowed trust on anyone else on their team. And we've seen a lot of messes. We've coached a lot of people over the years on, on like how to actually get through that when there is a larger breach of trust, or when it's a culture wide trust issue. It is not about ticking boxes, and never making mistakes. It really is a choice and and the ability of the leader in that situation to demonstrate how they're living up to the values of the business and the team.

Steve Haase  13:25  
Yeah, and that touches on something core for creating a culture of trust. And that is, if you're willing to acknowledge your own mistakes, then others are going to be able to do the same. Right? If if you are unimpeachable in any way, you know, you've never messed up, you've never sent an email to the wrong list or with the wrong link or, you know, somehow screwed up. Your people will brush everything under the rug, and then things will blow up in their face. And then you'll just have to let them go because they were not forthcoming or trustworthy. But if you find that happening more than once, chances are that you're the culture you create is part of that. So to create a trusting environment, you it's like building a container, right? You are creating that container where people can admit to having screwed up, because we're humans, it's gonna happen in many, many ways. And the way you do that is by going first, you admit when you've made a mistake, there was a great example with Shopify, they bought a robotics division and then two years later sold the robotics division for a huge loss. And, and they said, Look, that was that was an experiment that we ran and we learned what we wanted to learn Um, so that was like, hey, that that one didn't work out. Also when they cut, like 10% of the employee headcount, like that's, that's a hard moment and a lot of CEOs will just say, Hey, this is how it is. The Shopify CEO actually said I made a mistake, I projected this kind of growth, we saw that kind of growth that's on me, I made a mistake. I'm sorry for the impact that has had on you. But that willingness to say, I screwed up, period, is what opens the door to real trust, because people know that if you're gonna if you can admit to it, and they can admit to it without being let go for that mistake.

Erin Aquin  15:47  
Yeah, if you can admit to it and be undefended.

Steve Haase  15:51  
What's the secret to not being defensive? It's hard.

Erin Aquin  15:53  
It's really hard. You know, I'll share another example from our life. It's not a business example at all. Our youngest child, weeks and weeks after the fact, told me that when he was thirsty One night, while we were watching a movie, he took a sip out of mommy's mommy drink. That's an alcoholic. i Mommy drink as we call it around here, because Daddy does not partake in alcohol. And didn't tell me about it. And he had been like, holding this, I don't know, guilt. He said, I have to tell you something. I did something very bad. And I feel very bad about it. And I and like, he shared it. And I was like, Oh, well, that's, it's that's not great. But you know, really, you could have just told me, I was not going to be mad at you about that and wonder why you thought I would be mad. And he said, because I know, I'm never supposed to drink a mommy drink. And I said, Yeah, you know what, but mommy was the one who made the mistake, because I had my drink in a glass that looked like the same glasses. Yours. It seems like an honest mistake. And really, it was kind of my fault. Like, matching glasses side by side. My fault. And I think it kind of blew his mind. But not only did he not get in trouble. I was not mad. But I was like, Oh, I am the leader of the situation. I am the grown up. I'm the responsible one. Had a little sip of some water down something. But felt like he couldn't tell me. It was like a good reflection moment for me. But I think I think I handled it really well, because I was undefined. vended I said actually, you know, always feel always told me because I need to know if something if it had been something else. Maybe that would be bad. But I mean, it was really my fault. Bad leadership on mommy's part, and I was not crying over it. I was not guilting myself, I was not saying I'm a terrible mother, maybe I'll get maybe we'll get right people will write to me and tell me I'm a terrible mother. But like, I'm not going to feel bad about that. Because like I have created a culture in my house where at least he came to me at some point. And that is what I want. And it was my fault.

Steve Haase  18:31  
Well, and you leave the way with what you demonstrate how to apologize. When you make a mistake. For all of us, that you you show the kids what it looks like to just take responsibility for something that you weren't happy with how you handled it.

Erin Aquin  18:52  
Yeah. Yeah, that was not easy to learn. That was hard. And I realized that behaving in ways I don't want to behave. And then just brushing it under the rug was the exact opposite to what I would teach my kids like if they were rude or mean or just in a grumpy mood and said something mean to somebody else in the household. And like, we have to apologize, we have to clean that up. We have to like make that right. And I realized that that was never going to happen. Unless I said hey, you know what? I was grumpy earlier. I just ignored everybody. I was feeling grumpy. And I'm sorry. And it's not okay to do that. And

Steve Haase  19:36  
I'm sorry. And so then in the the culture that you're creating as a leader, dear listener, like you can take a page and page out of the Erin's parenting book.

Erin Aquin  19:48  
I don't know if we want to go that far. situation

Steve Haase  19:51  

Erin Aquin  19:53  
have your drinks in different cups than your kids though. That's my parents,

Steve Haase  19:57  
setting people up for success. Setting your team around for classes. But But yeah, like the fact that you lead by example with how you want mistakes to be handled is what creates a culture where at least it's possible for someone to go there not that our kids ever actually apologize for bad behavior on their on their they will they'll come around to it. But

Erin Aquin  20:23  
no, that's not true. Yeah. I got an apology for for some rude looks yesterday by one of our kids. Yeah, just unprompted. But

Steve Haase  20:38  
that's only happening because you and myself to whatever degree I can. He

Erin Aquin  20:44  
never makes mistakes, so he doesn't have to follow us. Never asked him.

Steve Haase  20:48  
I don't even know why you're saying that.

Erin Aquin  20:52  
You You have to you Sorry, you don't need to apologize. Probably as much as I do. Interesting. Yeah, there's not a lot of family proclamations of that wasn't my best moment. Everybody. I've had my share

Steve Haase  21:05  
I've had I've had plenty though. And it's it's those moments of humility and grace for yourself, that that opened the door for others to do the same. So if you want more trust in your workspace, recognize the difference between questioning the data or the work product and questioning the person and their integrity and their intent. And make the room for it by creating that culture yourself.

Erin Aquin  21:30  
Yeah. Yeah. Just make it easy to be a human. Whether you're at home or in the workplace, won't feel good the first few times you do it. But yeah, if you've, if you want to trust someone, you want to bestow your trust, and it's feeling hard. You can share why you could share what you need to feel comfortable. Offering that trust as well. The key is to be human and to communicate. Sounds easy. We can help you with this. You need some support, in your in your work and in your personal life is what we do every day. So

Steve Haase  22:16  
yep, we'd love to have a conversation with you about any of the challenges that you're facing, creating a strong team a high performing team a high trust him, head over to besuperabound.com/consultation To book your free 30 minute visionary meeting where you can actually connect with that leader that you want to become. And we will see you there. Thanks for listening