ASQ - Team and Workplace Excellence Forum

August 1998 / Special Feature : An Issue Of Trust

An Issue Of Trust

In God We Trust, All Others Pay Cash

All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Furnishing Trust And Empowerment

Eight Organizational Strategies That Build Trust

Trust In Whom

by Peter Block
Trust Columns
John Schuster

Cliff Bolster
Joel Henning
Dan Oestreich
Felicia Seaton-Williams
Trust Interviews
Trapeze Artist
Emergency Room Physician

Air Traffic Controller
Police Officer
Park Ranger


Brief Cases
Business News Briefs

Book Review


All You Ever Really Need To Know About Trust You Learned In Kindergarten

Managers build trust by telling employees what they know—and what they don’t know. They tell employees how they are really doing; they talk openly about results, not wishes. They make criticism OK and listen to it, whether it’s accurate or not. These managers avoid business babble—they want to be understood. One manager whose employees asked about “empowerment” replied, “Actually, I don’t have a clue what it really means—it’s probably a new word for delegation.”

Managers who are able to build trust learned this when they were children. Robert Fulgham’s popular book, “All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,” illustrates those life experiences.

Share everything—especially information.
Managers who are trusted share what they know and what they don’t know, and ask, “What do you need to know that I haven’t addressed?” They never say, “I’m going to be completely open, honest and candid with you.” Usually they don’t know everything their employees want (need) to know or they’re not in a position to share it.

Play fair—tell people what the rules really are; then play by them.
Trusted managers teach their employees the “rules” and then play by them. If the rules change, they tell their employees that too.

Don’t hit people.
Trust-building managers use words to be direct,
not to hurt.

Put things back where you found them.
They recognize that despite continuous change, people must know where to find what they need.

Clean up your own mess.
Trusted managers make “messes” their responsibility, not others’.

Don’t take things that aren’t yours—especially credit.
These managers see that credit goes to the people who work with them. Often they avoid taking credit, even if it’s theirs to take.

Say you’re sorry when you hurt somebody.
They say it—and they mean it.

Trusted managers can let go of the past. They seek solutions to current problems, not brood about past failures.

Warm cookies and cold milk are good for you—as are many things which are politically incorrect.
Managers who are effective at building trust deal openly with their employees—even if the truth is unpleasant.

Take a nap every afternoon.
They make time to restore themselves and make sure their employees do too.

When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands and stick together.
They help employees anticipate problems and provide opportunities for them to share their concerns.

“Olly-olly-in-free”—to all those who have hidden too well say, “Come on out, wherever you are. Get found.”
Managers who are really good at rebuilding trust convince their employees that, “This is a new game and I need you to participate.”

August '98 News for a Change | Email Editor
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