5 Skills For Patching Broken Trust
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Bullying - From The Playground To The Workplace - By Dianne Crampton
The best way to patch broken trust is to reduce fear and restore employees' confidence in the reliability and fairness of leaders and the organization.
Leaders who expect to restore perceptions of trustworthiness through one-way conversations discover that their efforts are often met with skepticism. That's because trust is incident dependent. And broken trust creates fear, which leads to defensiveness.
This means that new incidents to restore perceptions are required and often depend on words that match actions over time. And for those employees who place a high value on security and who are often the organization's hard workers and team players, letting go of distrust is facilitated by one-on-one conversations that communicate empathy, respect and understanding.
The following five skills that serve leaders seeking to resolve conflict and restore trust are an extension of Daniel Goleman's work in the book "Emotional Intelligence." These skills involve emotional wisdom, which come from experience, high levels of self reflection, and applying emotional intelligence in accordance with enlightened values such as trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success -- TIGERS. This is much different than applying emotional intelligence in ways to manipulate others to achieve self-serving goals.
The five skills are:
2. Managing difficult emotions
3. Self motivation
4. Recognizing emotions and feelings in others
5. Preserving relationships
Self-awareness is a basic understanding of what you are feeling and emotionally reacting to at any given time. The reactions are often unconscious and are based on past experience.
For example, in the film "The Da Vinci Code" directed by Ron Howard and based on the novel by Dan Brown, the character Robert Langdon (played by Tom Hanks) suffered from claustrophobia. As a child he had fallen into a well and almost drowned. When called by French detectives to investigate a murder at the Louvre, Langdon appeared nervous and agitated when riding the elevator down to the murder scene. This behavior caused the detective to believe Langdon was involved in the murder when in reality Langdon was physically reacting to past childhood trauma.
Therefore, being attuned in advance to how you are reacting is based on identifying emotional triggers from the past. One way to develop self-knowledge is to create an insightful autobiography that identifies growth stages, which include experiences where you have become emotionally stuck.
The end result is avoiding self-deception. The resulting benefits are objectivity, detachment, avoiding overreaction to criticisms from others when these criticisms are not true about you and understanding that the role you are playing does not define who you are.
Coaching is extremely helpful for leaders who want to explore deeper levels of self awareness.
Managing difficult emotions
Self-awareness leads to recognizing difficult emotions such as anxiety, anger, sadness, jealousy and ambivalence when they are happening. Once the emotion is recognized, management is possible. For example a person might ask himself, "What is the worst thing that can happen here?" (as in the case of overcoming sales rejection). Or a person could count to ten when angry and respond in a way that respects herself and others.
A person who is able to manage difficult emotion also realizes that when he or she is experiencing emotions they are sending signals to others. For example, if Robert Langdon realized he was sending signals of discomfort to the detective, he would have communicated that he suffers from claustrophobia.
Or, if Langdon had moved past the stuck emotional place of still being trapped in the well (which he was later able to do when facilitated by Sophie Neveu) he would have detached from the well experience altogether.
The good news is that old emotional triggers eventually dissolve when they are brought to light, managed, and reframed.
An example is when people recognize envy and are able to transform it into admiration. When this happens they often leave underachieving friends behind to learn from people who demonstrate admired skills.
Self motivation means that people wake up in the morning with the drive to make a difference. This skill is based on enlightened values and allows them to focus most on the joy work gives them rather than the inevitable struggles.
Therefore, when self-aware, emotionally managed and self motivated people are called upon to restore trust in an organization, they look forward to understanding the perspectives of others, are naturally curious, look for solutions that support both relationships and financial goals, and are helpful in determining the cause and effect of corporate decisions.
Recognizing emotions in others
People who are aware of their own emotions are more able to recognize emotions in others. They are able to flip an incident that has caused a reaction in someone and image how it might feel if it happened to them. This ability is fundamental to empathy and to congruently communicating an understanding of what another person feels.
For example, a person whose trust has been breached might appear anxious and hyper vigilant and express that he or she is handling new work assignments well, when this is not true.
The empathetic communicator is able to intuit the truth and get to deeper levels of understanding which serves to resolve conflict.
For example, underneath hyper vigilance is a range of feelings anchored in fear. One is the fear that a person will not be able to provide for their families if they fail to make the next cut. The perception running the emotion is that there will be more cuts.
Or the emotion is anger because they perceive they are being taken advantage of because they are shouldering the work of terminated employees along with their own. They fear they are being set up to fail or are not being respected.
Or they fear they will be blindsided by the next wave of layoffs and do not have an understanding of how their performance supports stabilizing goals.
The ability to empathize helps leaders reach into deeper levels of conversation to release misperceptions, uncover core motivations, and resolve conflict so that others are able to forgive and move on.
The ability to empathize, be self-motivated, manage emotions, and be self-aware helps leaders maintain relationships and persuade others to trust them because they are trustworthy.
They also are able to recognize when people need to be challenged and when personal values do not align with the business culture. If the business culture lacks integrity, people who are self-aware, emotionally managed, empathetic and responsible in relationships move on to greener pastures.
Therefore, both consistency and the ability to talk to and empathize with employees are required to move beyond breached trust. Leaders who are able to be genuine, empathetic and safe (trustworthy), thereby encouraging employees to share their perceptions without fear of retaliation, are true assets. They are able to manage emotion and reach levels of understanding that help employees form renewed trust.
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Bullying - From The Playground To The Workplace - By Dianne Crampton
About the Author: Dianne Crampton
RSS for Dianne's articles - Visit Dianne's website
Dianne Crampton helps leaders build engaged and accountable teams. She also licenses and certifies consultants, trainers, coaches and facilitators in the use of TIGERS proprietary tools. TIGERS Success Series, is a trademarked TIGERS team culture process, which stands for trust, interdependence, genuineness, empathy, risk and success.
To view our complimentary webinar entitled Avoid the 3 Big Mistakes That Many Team Builders Make That Keep Then Under Paid And Their Practices Half Full grab a seat here.
To view Dianne's latest team tips video on how to build team commitment, click Here.
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Click here to visit Dianne's website.
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