REFLECTION: In case you’ve missed the memo – or the endless media messages bombarding us daily – December is the one month of the year where giving is clearly top of mind. It’s no surprise, then, that I was intrigued by this first item on a list of tips for reducing workplace stress.
Tip number one advises giving the gift of trust. What an interesting idea!
The point is that a lack of control over one’s own work is a serious workplace stressor. Leaders who micro-manage tasks or decree exactly how everything must be tackled build neither trust nor capacity. In fact, there’s nothing more irritating than having someone lurking over your shoulder second guessing everything you’re doing, interceding to make sure it’s done the ‘right’ way (read ‘their’ way).
When we give others the freedom to make decisions about how to approach the tasks in front of them we honor their capabilities and avoid unnecessary pressures. Trusting is not only a stress reliever, but a relationship and capacity builder.
Developing trust is a bit of a catch 22 situation. Do you grant it only after it is earned? Or do you assume it until proven otherwise? Maybe it’s possible to hold both possibilities in hand at once.
Stephen M.R. Covey sheds light on this issue in his book, The Speed of Trust. He notes that building trusting relationships with others hinges on two elements: character (positive intentions and a reputation for integrity) and competence (strong capabilities and a record of results).
ACTION: What does this mean for the way we ease the load for others? For starters, we can stop meddling in situations where others have already proven their character and competence.
People grow and develop over time. The way we oversee and interact needs to adapt as trust is built. Backing off and letting go might just be the very best gift of all!
QUOTE OF THE WEEK: “Few things can help an individual more than to place responsibility on him, and to let him know that you trust him.” – Booker T. Washington
RESOURCE OF THE WEEK: Here’s a link to an article on trust based on the ideas in Stephen Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust.
READERS WRITE: In response to the last message, ‘What Really Counts?’, Pause reader KE writes: I just finished teaching my course on the power of coaching and the science of positive psychology. We talked about different measures of success. Did you know that Bhutan measures Gross National Happiness? It’s a 30 year old policy and is soundly based on Buddhist philosophy. The British government recently announced that their office of national statistics will start measuring people’s psychological and environmental well-being, making it one of the first western countries to officially monitor happiness.
PS – HAPPY NEWS: Last week in Montreal, at the Annual Convention of CAPS (the Canadian Association of Professional Speakers), I was honored with an induction into the Canadian Speaking Hall of Fame. See this recent blog posting for more details, video and photos.