Do you create a circle of trust? Do you make people feel safe?

Let’s face it, there’s are lots of danger out there, our competition, the ones trying to sabotage our business objectives and relationships, and so forth.

As a leader, how are you creating a circle of trust at your organization?

Trust is not tangible, it cannot be touched but when it is there, you know it, you feel it. Trust is a feeling, an emotion.  According to Charles Feltman author of the Thin Book of Trust, it is where you expose your vulnerabilities by choosing to risk making something you value vulnerable to another person.  You might say, “I trust you because I have experienced your trustworthiness and because I have faith in human nature.”  Emotions associated with trust include companionship, friendship, love, agreement, relaxation, comfort.

About 5 years ago, I was joining a new company, I was so excited and the organization seemed excited to have me on board. My first few weeks, I was the first at my desk and the last to leave, I wanted to learn everything I could about the organization, its culture, its language, it best practices.  After about 3 months, I still did not feel like I fit in yet, I knew I did not have their trust and had a need to prove I was worthy of their trust.  Over the course of time, I started to feel it, I actually said “I belong here.”   Some people can go for years without that feeling or perhaps they may feel it right away.

Trust is environmental, a leader can determine the environment, they can determine how big that circle of trust will extend.  The culture is the environment.   If the environment is based on fear, then people will protect themselves, they will not feel safe to share, collaborate, there will be no innovation, a very limited communication, and execution.

This company, I learned that they had been through a lot of change, one of my colleagues who had been there for many years had experienced over 50 people come and go. The question posed would be, I wonder how long they will last.  Hence, there was no question that the culture was lacking in trust.   There was a circle of trust that existed, it did not exist at the leadership level.  It was the middle managers that developed a culture of trust.   Their circle was strong, it was filled with communication, innovation, collaboration and execution.  It was a positive culture within a negative culture?  This silo effect, I believe exists in many teams especially those dealing with tremendous change.

How can we impact the environment and leverage the level of trust above departmental? I