Episode 1 - Create Trust and Psychological Safety on Your Team
[00:00:00] Lauren Marie: Welcome to The Integrated Leader Podcast. I'm Lauren Marie, and I'm with my partner in business and in life, Loren Kutsko. We are the founders of Kutsko Consulting, an organization that enables human collaboration by providing the right data and technology to lead your people.
[00:00:20] We are introducing a learning program for leaders called the 8 Dimensions of a Healthy Team. As a leader, management and coaching is something you need to be doing every single day, so why not be excellent at it?
[00:00:32] In this eight part series you will be introduced to the basic principles to engage, grow, and align your team for success. It's simple, but rarely is it easy. If you want to reflect on the current status of your team as you listen along, we have a free assessment at teamhealthscore.com that will give you a baseline of where your team stands today.
[00:00:53] You can also learn all about our other products and services like hiring assessments, individual coaching, group coaching and certifications. Thankfully, there's a growing awareness in many organizations about the benefits of Emotional Intelligence and the importance of self-reflection. More and more executives are discovering the impact that these have on the multiple bottom lines they are accountable to scale. Business is personal, So let's be good at it.
[00:01:19] Lauren Marie: Today, we are talking about the first of the 8 Dimensions of a Healthy Team, Team Trust. Our goal is to define what Team Trust is, talk about why you need it and have a conversation about how it impacts the performance and outcomes of your team. Let's dive in.
[00:01:35] Loren: it's good to be here with you.
[00:01:36] Lauren Marie: It's nice to be with you today.
[00:01:37] I'm excited to talk about this topic. What is our working definition?
[00:01:41] Loren: We define team trust as your team members’ ability and practice of being vulnerable with one another about their own weaknesses without the fear of humiliation or retribution.
[00:01:52] Lauren Marie: So I was doing some research for this podcast and I learned that Patrick Lencioni, in his book, The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, states a difference between predictive trust and vulnerability based trust. He defines predictive trust as a trust that is based on knowing each other and having a shared experience to lean back on, or, I can predict how you will respond, because I'm trusting that part of the relationship. And we're talking about vulnerable trust, which he defines people on the team can say to one another, I don't know the answer. Can you teach me how to do what you're doing? And I messed up. I'm sorry.
[00:02:37] But here we're stating... to build team trust we need the vulnerability trust.
[00:02:43] Loren: Right, and ultimately, when I imagine working with someone who I trust, I do think both of those components are important.
[00:02:50] I don't necessarily want to say we're only talking about the vulnerability piece of it, but as I'm thinking through ways to help our clients measure it and evaluate how they're doing. I think the easiest metric is counting the number of times that your team voluntarily shares.
[00:03:07] So I think that from that standpoint, it's a little bit easier to measure: Does your team have a consistent practice of sharing vulnerably with one another? And are you the leader taking the initiative to do that? That's easier of the two to measure than the shared experience one and the predictive one.
[00:03:22] That's something that forms over time. And you probably just need to have time as the primary ingredient in the predictive trust, but on the other one, I really think you can speed it up by initiating those conversations and coming into the room either one-on-one or with the group and saying, I don't know the answer. Can you teach me how to do what you're doing? I messed up and I'm sorry. The more a team says that with one another and the earlier they do that in the forming of the team, the more they're going to build this, this environment where they're not afraid when that happens.
[00:03:53] They don't know what their job description is or where the team is heading or where the organization is heading, but they're afraid to bring it up. But they're very clear that they know that it's not there. And even the people on the team will talk about this. And this is sort of the quintessential water cooler conversation.
[00:04:07] Hey, I know that people don't know what's going on here. And you know that people don't know what's going on here, but neither of us are willing to say that to the people who are supposed to know what's going on here. And it just festers and it's contagious through an organization when it's like that.
[00:04:23] And then once it's embedded, it's very difficult to get it out of an organization.
[00:04:28] Lauren Marie: It also makes me think of Brené Brown's work of Daring Leadership and her research on vulnerability as a practice. Her work has been out for, you know, 10 years at this point. It's not new, but it does still feel new to expect a leader to say, “I don't know.”
[00:04:49] Loren: Hmm. Yeah. Which is a shame because it's not, it's really not new. I'm a big fan of Peter Drucker. He started talking about the stuff in the middle of the 20th century. Management as a major field of practice really became popular then and people started realizing there was a specific way to do that and that the, the kind of quote/unquote old way of doing that in a very authoritarian dictatorial domineering way wasn't what knowledge workers and most of our clients are knowledge workers. People that have a lot of autonomy over their time and how they work and what they work on, they need a different kind of leadership.
[00:05:26] And we're just so appreciative of everything that Simon Sinek and Patrick Lencioni and Adam Grant, and Brené Brown have been doing recently to bring modern human psychology into the workplace to be able to process how this stuff works on teams, because this is where people spend most of their lives, most of the hours of every day. So hopefully it can be a kind, safe experience where people can thrive and bring that creativity to fruition. and actually I named the first dimension Team Trust, and I was really in the back of my head thinking about Psychological Safety. So psychological safety is a concept that was more recently developed.
[00:05:59] So it's been 20 years now, but in 1999, Amy Edmondson from Harvard business school coined this term, psychological safety after doing some research with surgery teams and hospitals. And she started to notice that the ones that were the most successful at their big picture objectives as a surgery team were actually the ones that had the most mistakes documented and she thought it was really interesting. She's like, why, why would that be? But it wasn't actually that they were making more mistakes. It's just that they were talking about them more. And so she found that teams that were really effective at hitting these goals were actually verbalizing their weaknesses and their vulnerabilities.
[00:06:34] And so what she started to uncover, and she wrote a great book on this called The Fearless Organization, was that you can facilitate that inside your team by doing exactly what we've been talking about. As we're trying to put this together for our clients into these eight dimensions, trust equals psychological safety. We're seeing them as the same thing. So Patrick Lencioni has talked about it Five Dysfunctions of a Team. Stephen Covey has talked about it in his incredible book, Speed of Trust. He says it's the most important thing. Amy Edmondson is referencing it as Psychological Safety. And Simon Sinek does an incredible job in Leaders Eat Last.
[00:07:06] So what he's doing is he's referencing our biology as humans we're oriented to be part of a tribe and how people in the tribe are dependent on the leaders when our physical safety is of utmost concern. And the reason that we're binding together is to protect ourselves from threats, but it's the leaders who are the ones that are making sure everyone else has been fed, that everyone else is in good shape before they then meet their own needs. Any good leader needs to understand that the reason that they have taken this role is not so that they can kind of get theirs first.
[00:07:39] Loren: And I think we just have seen, and most of our clients express that some of that toxicity that lingers in a culture exists because you've got these leaders who are so afraid of being found out.
[00:07:49] So they're not actively creating trust. They're doing things every single day, inhibiting trust and breaking down the culture that could create the strength on the team.
[00:08:01] Lauren Marie: It sounds like to me, no matter what environment you're in, whether it's a toxic one, or if it's a healthy one, there is some sort of energy exchange happening. And in the toxic one where the leader has not shown an example of vulnerability, we're going to spend a lot of time hiding and we're going to spend our energy being small, staying little, staying under the radar, and that takes a lot of energy to hide. And if we are in an environment that does allow vulnerability and saying, guys, I don't know what to do right now, then all of that energy that was oriented towards hiding now becomes towards innovation.
[00:08:47] Loren: And to highlight the fact that it's a limited resource. A lot of people, especially the ones that we're talking about, aren't really doing physically draining things, but they still have this creative energy that has limits.
[00:08:57] We are actually seeing the opposite problem a lot. It's not that they're running out of energy, it's that their organizations and leaders and their managers and bosses have not actually figured out how to fully utilize the energy that they do have.
[00:09:10] Another author, Daniel Pink talks about Drive, and how people need autonomy, they need the ability to grow and develop at something and how people will do those things whether or not their employer is giving it to them.
[00:09:26] And he uses the example, which I think is super fascinating, of Wikipedia. Everything out there is put out there by volunteers and it's people like you and me that still have energy at the end of the day and a specific knowledge about something that they go on and they volunteer these resources, this energy to make something better for the world.
[00:09:45] And it's interesting to me that you've got these people that we interact with, they do an assessment with us and they debrief with you and they share with you like, yeah, I don't think my boss gets me. I don't think my role is a good fit. I'm kind of bored at work. I'm being underutilized or I'm being utilized incorrectly.
[00:10:01] And so there's this energy that we all have that isn't being taken advantage of in the right ways. Because when we do things that we're good at with our energy, it actually puts more energy back into us. But again, the leader has to know how to do that. They have to be able to create a team that does that with one another and define roles that fit for people.
[00:10:21] Lauren Marie: That's not always easy. As a leader, it might be hard to utilize someone well If you don't know where to look or how to see the parts that make up the whole.
[00:10:29] Loren: Oh, absolutely. A lot of times, one of the few tools that we have in our toolbox as leaders is hiring somebody. We go, man, I can't do all this stuff.
[00:10:40] And so I'll bring employees in here. In our current environment, at least up to this point has largely been this full time, 40 hour a week, W2 with benefits employee. One of the things I find difficult is utilizing somebody for 40 hours a week. And I think it's a systemic problem. People come in and they go, oh, I was hired to do this one thing well, that's not really going to take me a ton of time. I think of the movie Office Space, right? They're like I do, you know, eight minutes of actual work every week. And it's a real challenge for leaders to be able to take advantage of that. And I think it's one of the reasons that the gig economy has been exploding so much because workers know that they can actually do eight things this week, but they run out of instructions from their boss.
[00:11:20] And so they just decide, you know what, I'm just going to go figure this out on my own. I'm going to hang my own shingle. I'm going to drive for Uber. I’m gonna, you know, list my house on Airbnb. I'm going to put up a profile on Upwork or Fiverr or whatever, because they start to feel like this is, this is a waste of my energy. It's not getting utilized. Or they just find a new job every 18 months. So they'll kind of go in and they'll take something, a W2 employment that's meant to be perpetual, but they'll turn it into a temporary project work job because they, they start to feel like they've exhausted everything that there is to do.
[00:11:54] On the other hand, then you've got a bunch of people having their energy and it is being exhausted. I think part of the challenge for the leader of the team is to understand the nuances and the differences of their people to be able to give more work where more work is welcome, and then to back off where people are at capacity and you have to know that and that in and of itself is a scary thing to talk about if you have not built a trusting environment on your team.
[00:12:17] Lauren Marie: When you state all of that, it really seems to me that one of the things missing in organizations is that the leader here is 100% responsible for hearing your needs and wants. They are to be the bulldog that goes out and gets whatever you need and want to do your job well. And the direct report has to feel safe to share that information with their leader, to access the tools needed for their job.
[00:12:52] Leadership and direct report relationships. Do they ever get there? Does the person that's being led consent to being led?
[00:13:03] Loren: Yeah, in a lot of cases I think they don't. And I think that's unfortunate. I think
[00:13:07] Lauren Marie: Maybe we don't have a leadership problem, maybe we have a direct report problem.
[00:13:10] Loren: I mean, we have a collaboration problem. We have a people working with one another problem, problem.
[00:13:14] We've really started to see in the past few years, hearing people say, “stay in your lane.” And I hear that so much with our clients and I want to push back and be like, well, no, actually. We're not swimmers.
[00:13:28] It's really more of a basketball team we're not trying to stay in your lane and not touch one another. We're trying to get that energy exchange going where we're trying to do something that I can't do all by myself. I need you here in order to accomplish the goal.
[00:13:42] It's not going to work. If I'm just over here doing my thing and you're over there doing your thing and we happen to be wearing the same jersey. At the same time, I don't want to necessarily overly criticize that and say that that's wrong. I think you can do that, right? But you’ve got to know, and everybody on your team needs to know, this is the kind of team that we're making.
[00:13:58] We're making a team where you have a function and you don't need anybody else on the team to accomplish your function. The gun's going to go off and you run or swim as hard as you can and get out of everyone else's lane. And when they come towards your lane, you say, get out of my lane. Maybe you're an expert. There's certainly fields where that makes sense. But most of the time, the collaboration and the synergy that you can get by putting that energy into the mixed together and getting more out of it than you put in is not something that you're going to get with a stay in your lane mindset.
[00:14:26] Lauren Marie: Right. There's still something here that I feel like needs to be expressed… Do managers understand that they are there to make sure their employees' needs are met? And the only way they can know what the employee's needs are, is for that person to share them with them.
[00:14:47] I keep wanting to say, I want to say the word it's. Not allowed in our culture. I want to say that the direct report needs to submit to the leader.
[00:14:56] Loren: Well, I think that's a trusting posture also. I think it's still about trust. Why would a direct report submit to bosses that don't know what they're doing and who are too afraid to admit it?
[00:15:07] I think it's just a two way street. And I think I harp on the leader because you have now taken this role of additional status. And I want you to also then take more responsibility. It's hard not to reference Spiderman. You know, it's like with great power comes great responsibility, right?
[00:15:27] Lauren Marie: Isn't that the Bible? Loren: It's probably there. I'm sure Spider-Man got it from somewhere, but you know, it's, you have this power, and you need to use your power for good. And that's the message for leaders, this is not so that you can leave early and show up late and nobody's there to hold you accountable to it because now you're the boss. This is so that you can come in early and stay late so you can remove the obstacles for your employees. You can make sure their needs are met because you're going to win as the boss, because you have members of your team who are winning and you're going to get out of the way, and you're going to give them credit when they win.
[00:16:03] And when the team fails, you're going to step up and you're going to take responsibility for the failure. That's what leadership means. And I don't know that people do know that. And I think a lot of people who are direct reports and they're individual contributors, and they don't have any management responsibility or a team to lead feel like they know better.
[00:16:17] Because they feel like they know better. They want to become the leader so that they can utilize that knowledge that they know better. And then they get there. And they've also never been taught that their job, and has never been modeled for them, is to care for the people who work for them.
[00:16:31] And it just perpetuates over and over and over.
[00:16:34] Lauren Marie: Was it Simon Sinek that you said talks about what happens inside of us biologically when we are a part of a tribe or a team that we feel trust in.
[00:16:46] Loren: Yeah. And this has become much more popular recently, which, which you and I love.
[00:16:49] Right. So, you know, you're studying with Dan Siegel. I've become a big fan of some of the Emotional Intelligence work that Daniel Goldman has done. People are talking about how biologically and psychologically our brains have been developed for a context that we're no longer in where we're constantly in physical danger and we need a group to protect us, or we need, you know, shelter. So our brain is on high alert when it perceives threat. The thing that hasn't apparently evolved is that we will perceive threat based on someone else's body language.
[00:17:21] Lauren Marie: You mentioned that I've been taking a course by Dr. Daniel Siegel this semester in his Interpersonal Neurobiology course. And I'd like to read a quote from him regarding this. It says unprocessed grief and trauma can literally reset our brain and nervous system to be more vigilant, to further possible assaults. When our inner alarm system, our limbic system and brain stem is hypersensitive to threat,it has a propensity to see threat where none exists.
[00:17:52] Like you just said. He goes on to say, when this happens, our pre-frontal cortex, our ability to evaluate and make proper decisions for what is really going on is flooded with stress hormones, stress hormones, weaken the prefrontal cortex ability to think clearly, and to evaluate accurately stress hormones also weakens the prefrontal cortex function to regulate and dampen the limbic system, which is exactly where the signal of potential danger is stored and stems from which it seems like if we have ever been in the past, shut out, demanded from if there's ever been trauma in the workplace, we feel unseen or unheard.
[00:18:33] Now we're also on high alert. And looking for it.
[00:18:35] Loren: Right. So we've got the 8 Dimensions of a Healthy Team course. One of the very first things that you do before you go into the team trust module is you take an Emotional Intelligence assessment and an evaluation of your own EQ and you get a score and these five areas because that's what was interesting and exciting that Daniel Goldman did in the late nineties when he uncovered that one of the main problems that gets in the way of leaders advancing is that they've got all these technical skills. They've proven that they're a really good sales rep. Then they get moved up into sales management, but nobody ever teaches them Emotional Intelligence. And sales may be a bad example cause generally sales people who are good, have high emotional intelligence, but they move into leadership roles without being taught to do what you just described.
[00:19:19] We as humans can notice that that's going on in our bodies. Many of us don't. And when we're responsible for a team and we're not noticing, we're not aware that that's happening, we can't then do anything about it. Emotional intelligence measures first, your self-awareness. Do I even know that this is going on in my body, in the first place? Can I notice adrenaline and cortisol as it's rushing through my body, these stress hormones? Now that I've noticed it, can I actually pause and regulate my behavior and control what I'm about to do so that I don't do something that takes me and the team further away from what we're trying to accomplish together.
[00:19:57] And then the third thing is motivation. Do I have the motivation to actually do this stuff in the first place? And then social awareness or empathy? Do I know what other people on my team are feeling? And then social regulation. Can I influence the other people on my team and what they're feeling? As a leader, when you can develop these five skills, then you can really start to make a difference in all of these things.
[00:20:16] And so the thing that's exciting to me is we can take these psychological ideas and concepts and we can measure them and track them. And in business and organizations, when we're trying to accomplish our goals, being able to measure something means that we can manage towards it. As soon as I can see that somebody is constantly flipping their lid and losing access to their prefrontal cortex in meetings, I can then as their manager, through a desire to, to care for them and have their needs met, hold them accountable to developing that skill.
[00:20:45] And I can give them all the resources that they need to grow their self-awareness and then grow their self-regulation ability. I just get excited seeing that it all fits together. And that leaders can understand what's going on in their bodies and they can manage their teams. And then those teams can learn the same skills and then they'll become better leaders someday. And even if they don't want to be leaders, they can be really good individual contributors because they have a team that's trusting that they can rely on.
[00:21:09] Lauren Marie: They won't have a collaboration problem. I like that word. I think the, the beauty of the way that we work together is, you make things, sound, very approachable and attainable in that for me, I want a team that has team trust and I'm like, oh, we should have some energy exchange and we should be vulnerable.
[00:21:33] And it feels like I'm going to float away. How do I do that as a leader? And it feels scary. It's a scary thing when I think of a leader stepping into learning how to cultivate team trust. And what I hear you saying is that it is vulnerable, which can be scary, but there is a process that you can follow. And there are ingredients that make up a healthy team and at least we know some of what they are.
[00:22:02] Loren: Yeah, I mean, you're sure as heck not going to get there without putting these fundamentals in place. You've got to have the basic building blocks...
[00:22:08] Lauren Marie: But if I just go to yoga and meditate, maybe I can.
[00:22:11] Loren: Well, and I think that's really common, right? I mean, I think, I think we have certain leaders that are in their roles because they are fairly, left brain. Right, they are sort of detailed and structured and logical and that's where they live. That's what they're good at. That's why they've gotten the additional responsibility that they have. But then they might sense that their team doesn't have as much trust as they would like, or that kind of the quote/unquote softer side isn't happening.
[00:22:36] And so then they'll do a retreat or they'll take everybody to yoga or they'll go paintballing together or let everybody go home early on a day or something like that, or try to do some sort of woo woo conversation, over a team lunch, But then it happens and then it doesn't have any way to stay in practice and so everybody forgets. they go, oh, that was sort of neat that one day I got to go home early before, you know, a long weekend or whatever, but now what? I've actually, now my boss seems angry again, cause I'm not hitting my metrics. What if we create metrics that measure the soft stuff. We need the hard and the soft, we need the yin and the yang and we have to be able to put it together. And leaders are the ones who have to hold this for their teams and put these practices together. So we're going to measure the soft stuff and then we're going to give people achievable goals. If your team isn't growing and developing, they're not going to want to keep working on this task or this team either.
[00:23:27] Lauren Marie: Hm. I have a controversial question that I want to ask.
[00:23:30] I don't want to make anyone mad, but I think it's a curious question. As we talk about trauma and we talk about showing up in the world and given the context of the West that we live in, has the capitalistic system perverted the business owner's view of employees? And as a result, constructed and continue to support a system of trauma in the workplace?
[00:23:51] Loren: Do we have a systemic problem that is encouraging, everything we've been talking about solving? Yeah. Absolutely. I think that's part of the issue is that the system isn't incentivizing managers to be taught to manage because the metrics are hard to measure. So it's just way easier to hire a Chief Financial Officer and count the dollars coming into the organization count the dollars leaving the organization, give me a profit and loss statement find some key performance indicators off the profit and loss statement and put that up on the scoreboard that everybody looks at and gets excited about.
[00:24:25] Those are tangible, hard, factual things, and those things are great. I think what we're luckily finally discovering is that those hard metrics are related to the soft stuff. The best organizations are measuring the soft stuff and they're putting those metrics up on the scorecard next to the hard stuff. And because they're great places to work, the financial goals are moving in the right direction as well. But not everybody's there. And I think it is... I, you know, I don't, I don't know if I necessarily want to blame capitalism. I just want to blame humanity. You know, I mean, I think we have a tendency to take advantage of one another and I don't know that it has to be part of a particular economic or political system to do that.
[00:25:06] I think we just do that to one another and that's, that's unfortunate. I do think there's systemic challenges. I do think those are a little bit above my pay grade, but I'm happy to talk about them on a podcast.
[00:25:18] Lauren Marie: If you're listening and have anything to say about that...
[00:25:20] Simon Sinek says a lot of people ask the question, how do we get the most of our people?
[00:25:25] And he's saying, that's a flawed question. The correct question is how do we create an environment where our people can work at their best? I think that's the question that made me think, well, yeah, well, and related it back to capitalism as our number one is profit. So how do I get more from my employees?
[00:25:43] Because I need more profit.
[00:25:44] Loren: Yeah. I think it's it's I love the way that he frames it there. But I do think, you know, if you're, if you're trying to meet managers where they're at, their manager may be breathing down their neck to hit some of these metrics. So I do want to acknowledge that it's not like we're asking people to do something easy.
[00:26:01] There's all kinds of things going on in the management structure and in the system and external demands that are requiring and making leaders of teams feel like there's not room in their calendar to spend time listening to their employees because they've got their own things that they're trying to achieve.
[00:26:18] And what we're saying, and this is why we made accountability the second dimension of a healthy team is that when you learn how to delegate effectively, then you can actually take that work off of your plate and push it down to the other people on your team. And those people really want the work because when you've created this kind of environment, then they actually want the work and that's where the work is getting done. And now it frees up your own calendar to focus your energy, where it matters most, which is meeting the needs of your employees and removing obstacles so that they can do the work. There's a real skillset there that we teach our clients and that you can learn in this course, in this book and this podcast, which is how to do that because it's not that simple. Or maybe simple, but it's not that easy.
[00:27:00] Lauren Marie: Yeah, I agree. It's a simple idea. It's a simple practice. Like yoga, mindfulness, all of this stuff is starting to get integrated into the workplace, which is fantastic. It's not a hard idea.
[00:27:17] Loren: It's not complicated.
[00:27:19] Lauren Marie: It’s not complicated. We love to make things complicated, which I think why is why people love our assessments because we make it look super complicated.
[00:27:24] We can give you all the metrics on all the different plots of what makes your employees unique and different and it's good information, the work of management is showing up, meeting with your employees one-on-one, having meetings...
[00:27:39] Loren: It's not that sexy. It's important to know if you're listening to this and you're the leader of a team, maybe you don't really like to manage people, maybe you don't want to, and maybe that's part of what you're discovering, but I think another thing that's really broken in our system, the only way for you to increase your compensation, is to manage people. You actually may know about yourself that you don't want to do everything that we've been talking about, but you're in a leadership role because you pursued providing for your family. So now you're pursuing providing for your family and you've got this leadership responsibility, but really you mainly want to write, or you want to do the technical things that you were good at, that got you here in the first place. But there's not much in the structure of the way that we've set things up that allow you to do that without moving quote/unquote, up in the organizational chart and taking responsibility for others.
[00:28:32] I think that is a big problem. If I was part of a bigger organization, I would definitely make it a priority to come up with a way to pay people more for other things besides advancing in the organizational chart. But to be paid more for doing a better job at their craft, even as an individual contributor.
[00:28:50] Lauren Marie: Right. We wanted to answer the question. How does working in a psychologically safe environment change our relationship with work? And I think that we've said it pretty clearly that it allows us to use the energy we have towards innovation, creativity, and becoming better, because we're not afraid to talk about the mistakes that we've made, because we know that's par for the course and that we're not afraid to tackle the unknown because we know unknowns happen.
[00:29:18] Loren: Of course, things are unknown. Of course, mistakes are going to be made. We're a team of humans, not a team of robots.
[00:29:23] Lauren Marie: But that does go missing at times. When we have a leader that is humble and is able to be vulnerable and say, I messed up, thank you for bringing this to my attention. Everyone else in the room is now free to do so as well.
[00:29:38] Loren: That's right, and you really want your team members doing that. A big part of the reason why you're taking the lead and being vulnerable first is to show them how to do it. And then it's okay to do it because you really want them bringing their mistakes to you so that you can deal with them.
[00:29:50] One of the worst things that can happen to you as a leader is that you're getting surprised by the mistakes that your team is making because they're afraid to let you know, or that they see something outside the organization. That's your responsibility to fix it. But no one's telling you because you've created an environment where problems aren't safe to talk about.
[00:30:06] Lauren Marie: Right. That might be a really key way to motivate yourself into being vulnerable. Right. As a manager. I want this for my employees, so therefore I will do this, even though it feels uncomfortable for me. Right.
[00:30:17] We also wanted to answer the question because this changes us internally where we feel safe, we feel seen, we feel like we can admit our mistakes. How does that actually impact the hard data? The bottom line? Does it have an impact on the performance of a team?
[00:30:37] Loren: When you're talking about financially, one of the things we know is extremely expensive on a team is turnover. The ability to retain the people that you want to retain, so they don't leave is extremely cost effective and efficient. You're going to save a lot of money over the long run by spending a lot of money on doing these things. So the more time and money you invest in developing your team and creating this kind of environment, the better off you're going to be financially in the long run. So that's a cost savings for sure. But if you create an environment where they're comfortable making mistakes, then you're going to get more innovation and creativity out of them.
[00:31:12] So you're also going to achieve your performance goals. So if you're talking about a for-profit business, then you're going to see profits go up. If you're talking about a social organization or a charity, then you're going to see the mission be advanced more effectively and efficiently by creating an environment where people are psychologically safe.
[00:31:30] Lauren Marie: So if I'm a leader listening to this and I know I have to start with the fundamentals of building team trust, what are some practical ways I can begin to cultivate this on my team?
[00:31:41] Loren: This may be one of the most difficult ones and maybe that's why we put it first, because there's just a lot of internal, self-work that needs to be done.
[00:31:49] So if you feel like you're comfortable with these concepts and now you just need actions to take. Then I think some of the simple actions are to just start spending time with the people who report to you and getting to know them and asking them questions. The first thing that you want to do is just relationships and trust are built in minutes.
[00:32:09] You just want quality time together. If you're not currently meeting one-on-one with everybody on your team, you've got to start putting those things on the calendar every week at the same time, in the same place, in the same mode and just logging those minutes. And then when you have them on your calendar, you can start being curious and asking questions.
[00:32:29] What are your kids' names again? Where do they go to school? What do you do on the weekends for fun? How do you like to be recognized and celebrated? Just get to know your team. If you're not quite there yet, I think it could feel like you don't even know what you don't know. And who do you talk to and how do you process this to even get ready to start putting the practices and the action steps on your calendar. Reach out and say, hey, I want to talk through some of this more, it doesn't make sense.
[00:32:57] What you're saying will never work in my environment or my context. We just want to hear from you. We've got a form where you can submit that and reach out to us on our website.
[00:33:05] That's why we're here. We're here to create a safe environment for you to reach out and have a place to talk through this.
[00:33:12] Lauren Marie: Would you say therapy is a good place to start?
[00:33:15] Loren: I mean, I'm a huge fan of therapy in general. I think that it will help you uncover the emotional things that are going on and creating the distress in your life. That is probably a good answer for a lot of people. It's a good answer for everybody, but I wouldn't know if that's what you need on an urgent basis until talking to you. Whereas you might just be able to tweak some things that you're doing with the team, and there might be some simple things, simple strategies you can try. So everybody's a little bit different.
[00:33:43] Lauren Marie: Just say if you're listening, these are the things that you need to do: 1) have a therapist, 2) take our assessment and have a debrief with me, 3) hire Loren to coach you weekly on how to manage your team. You don't have to lead alone. And there's so much information that we have access to that can support you in this journey that you don't have to continue feeling like you're walking around in the dark with unknown answers.
[00:34:08] Loren: Absolutely.
[00:34:08] Lauren Marie: But more specifically to Team Trust, establishing a regular cadence with your one-on-ones, establishing a regular cadence with your team, and then practicing going first when sharing vulnerably. I have another question. Would you say that a leader needs to be explicit and say we are building trust here?
[00:34:30] Loren: Yeah. I don't think they should be afraid to say that. I think that's a good noble goal to have everybody know that they're working towards. And I think, I mean, one of the things you want, everybody in the team to do is to, to say, that thing that you just did broke trust.
[00:34:44] Lauren Marie: That's accountability. We'll talk about that next episode.
[00:34:49] What sorts of resources do you have for those interested in learning more about this topic of trust?
[00:34:57] Loren: We've got some good stuff in the show notes. I do think coaching from an accountability standpoint for your own management can be super helpful. If you're, if you're just sitting there saying, okay, I know I need to be vulnerable. What have I done wrong? Recently... And should I share that first or this other example? And what if I can't think of anything and what if I chicken out? Just having somebody in your corner that you're going to talk to before you go into the meeting and then call after the meeting, and who’s going to text you and say, did you do it? It may just be that you need some accountability yourself. If you can use the team and you can lead the team to hold each other accountable, then do it. And if you need somebody, a third party, then find someone who can do that.
[00:35:36] Lauren Marie: I found some personal practices that help us cultivate vulnerability. I wanted to share them because they're very simple. But if we keep them as an intention, I think it will help us grow our ability to be vulnerable and increase the environment of trust on our team.
[00:35:56] The first way is to ask for help. The second is to aim for more than you think you can do when setting goals. You can express appreciation to others. Share what you're struggling with. Be the first to apologize. Ask your team or your partner, how you can better support them. And you can admit when you're wrong.
[00:36:14] And I think those are seven simple, tangible ways that you can practice vulnerability.
[00:36:19] Loren: Yeah. That's a great list.
[00:36:20] Lauren Marie: Is there anything else that you want to talk about?
[00:36:23] Loren: No, I think that's good.
[00:36:24] Loren: Today we've discussed the importance of team trust and psychological safety in the workplace.
[00:36:28] Lauren Marie: This is the foundation of the 8 Dimensions of a Healthy Team.
[00:36:32] Loren: We defined what team trust is, discussed why your team needs it for health, what you and your team lose without it.
[00:36:38] Lauren Marie: We talked about how trust on a team can impact our brains and because of this internal impact, how it changes our team's performance and outcomes.
[00:36:47] Loren: And finally, we shared some simple daily practices to help you begin to introduce vulnerability into your world and how to model it to your team.
[00:36:55] Lauren Marie: Next episode, we will begin to talk about team accountability.
Lauren Marie: Thank you for joining us today. We are thrilled to have you here. It's important to remember that as with all learning, just having the information does not automatically lead to transformation. We can give you all of the analytics and methodologies, but team transformation will not happen without you incorporating new behaviors into your leadership practice.
Listening to a podcast without beginning to practice better management is a lot like learning about exercise without moving your body. Starting anything new will feel awkward and funny at times. This is normal and doesn't mean you should stop. Discomfort is a sign that it is working and that your brain is getting stronger. Stick with it.
Commit to trying our methods for eight weeks to six months and then observe and see what's next. See you next time on The Integrated Leader Podcast.