The Difficult People


Good morning! This morning, three items, starting with the most critical factor in healthy working relationships . . .
Two weeks ago, I wrote you with a story of a President who, frustrated in his relationship with his CEO, finally said – “I just don’t trust him!”
Without trust, it is always difficult for two people to work well together, much less a team of people. In retreats I lead with executive teams, we always begin with trust as a foundational element to having a great team.
But what exactly do we mean when we say, “I trust this person,” or “I don’t trust that person?” “Trust” can be one of those difficult-to-define words where you feel you just have to rely on – “I know it when I see it.”
Sitting in one of Marta’s culture-change workshops last week, I got a better answer. It is a list of seven attributes, taken from Brené Brown’s Rising Strong, which, if present, increase trust between two people.
If you have a difficult person in your life, someone you know you don’t trust completely, use this list to identify what’s missing.
Boundaries: Leaders build trust when they respect boundaries, and ask questions when boundaries are not clear. They are not afraid to draw boundaries by saying “No.”
Reliability: This is my Leadership Essential #3 – Leaders keep their commitments. They know their limits and they don’t over-commit.
Accountability: Leaders who are accountable take personal responsibility for their own mistakes, weaknesses and failures. They are quick to apologize and repair.
Vault: Trustworthy leaders don’t share information or experiences that are not theirs to share. They demonstrate discretion by not telling one person confidential information that belongs to someone else.
Integrity: In Brené’s words, leaders of integrity “choose courage over comfort . . . what is right over what is fun, fast, or easy.” And they “choose to practice [their] values rather than simply professing them.”
Nonjudgement: Leaders who embody this trait enable direct and clear communication. They can ask for what they want from others and others can do the same with them. Everyone can say exactly how they feel without risk of judgement.
Generosity: This is a mindset of thinking the best of your teammate, giving them the benefit of the doubt. Generosity means you “extend the most generous interpretation possible to the intentions, words, and actions of others.”
So there you have it – seven components that either build trust or, if missing, tear it down. Think of your highest and lowest trust relationships – your best and most difficult teammates. For the low trust / most difficult relationship, which component is most responsible? Consider sharing this article with that person and have a conversation aimed at building trust between the two of you.
Scary, huh? Control what you can control – yourself – and take the first step.

Did you know
that CEO turnover in August was the highest it’s been since 2002? And many CEO’s like to bring in their own team, which means even more turnover in the senior leader ranks. More here.

, my friend and CEO, John Darby, pointed me to this great article, which espouses a principle I have long held – that a company’s corporate culture is ultimately a reflection of the inner life of its CEO. Think about that.

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Lead well.