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The Trust Barrier: Why Leaders Struggle to Trust Their Teams



Congratulations on being human—and imperfect. In my 40 years of leadership experience, I've seen firsthand how trust, or lack thereof, can make or break a team or business. 


"Remember that underlying all our fears is a lack of trust in ourselves." - Susan Jeffers


Here are some examples of why you might feel as if you can't trust your team and, in part two of this blog, how you can overcome them:


  1. Fear of Losing Control: You fear delegating tasks will result in losing control. This mindset will hinder your team's autonomy and creativity. Your team will not innovate. They will come to you for verification and validation before taking action.

  2. Past Experiences: Your previous negative experiences shape your outlook. It's essential to differentiate between past incidents and the current team's potential. Every team is unique and deserves a fresh start.

  3. Lack of Clear Communication: You fail to communicate clearly. Miscommunication or lack of transparency will breed mistrust. You must foster an environment where open and honest communication is the norm.

  4. Unclear Expectations: You failed to set clear expectations. Uncertainty about team members' roles or the expected outcomes leads to mistakes and misunderstandings. Create clear, well-defined goals aligning with your intended outcomes and include measures and milestones that drive accountability.

  5. Micromanagement: You love the details. Hovering over every detail may comfort you, but it will stifle a team's initiative and growth. Ultimately, you will create frustration and aggravation with the team members. Focus on the big picture and trust your team to manage the details.

  6. Inadequate Support Systems: You ask your team to "take the hill" and fail to equip them properly. Ensure the teams are well-equipped and have the resources and support needed to succeed. Without support, even the most capable teams will falter and fail.

  7. Punitive Consequences: You have a made-up scenario of what will happen if you fail. You keep it at the front of our minds in the form of worry and doubt. You'll lose your job. You'll be unloved. And on and on. Listen to that voice that says, "You got this."


Join me in part two of this post for tips on overcoming these feelings.


Oh, and remember, you are capable of achieving extraordinary results.

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