Trust versus Fear

Trust is the antidote to fear. When you fear, you can’t trust. If you fear that employees won’t make sound decisions, you won’t trust them to do so, and you’ll feel the need to check up on every decision they make, thereby undermining any autonomy you might have granted them. If you fear that your employer will take advantage of you at every turn, you won’t be generous with your time and contributions. In both of these cases, you can see how the cycle starts and perpetuates. If a leader always second-guesses or checks up on your decisions, you’ll mistrust the leader and, over time, begin to take less initiative. When you take less initiative, the leader will label you as a “cruiser”—someone not motivated to step up. And the cycle is put in motion.

The question then becomes: Why can’t you trust? Is the fear legitimate? Or is the fear and mistrust based on assumptions you are making that may not be true?

Some Reasons to Trust

You may very well have leaders and coworkers in your organization who should not be trusted, but I will posit that the vast majority are honorable, noble, and eager to do great work. (And for those who are not, why are they still employed at your organization?) My optimism about the good intentions of people isn’t unfounded. You don’t have to look far to find compelling reasons to trust. Just keep reading.

Reason 1: We can find meaning in just about anything.

Proof: Farmville, Sim City

Relation to Work: For some reason, we have this grand ...

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