Leaders Build Trust by Confronting Reality

The Second Wave: Relationship Trust

Building the Wave of Relationship Trust requires deliberate trust-building behaviors.

There are five competence-based behaviors: delivering results, getting better, confronting reality, clarifying expectations, and staying accountable. We’ll also explore the “counterfeit” versions of these behaviors. A counterfeit behavior is one that looks like the trust-building behavior, but instead of building trust, this behavior is distorted into something that tears trust down.

This week: Confront Reality

Confront issues, including the “elephants in the room,” head on. Acknowledge the unsaid. Address tough stuff directly. Deal with minor issues before they become big problems. Lead courageously in conversations. Take on the reality, not the person. Stop avoiding the real issues.

The opposite of Confronting Reality is total denial. Whereas total denial may be rare, a common “counterfeit” version of this behavior is pretending to confront while evading reality by focusing attention on side issues while skirting the real issues.

As I consider this behavior, I think about my own DiSC profile. iD’s prioritize action and enthusiasm. A downfall of this style is glossing over tough stuff. Difficulty is not fun, and it gets in the way. Action=move fast. Enthusiasm=find joy in the work. I have a hard time confronting reality. When you throw in my Enneagram type 3w2, I’m really in trouble! I’ve worked over the years to improve my ability to confront reality, and one thing that helps is when I create a safe space for the people around me to point out reality when needed.

What to do instead?

Say things like this:

  • Let’s get real.
  • What are you not saying that needs to be said?
  • I don’t think we’re talking about what really needs to be talked about, which is…
  • What are the most significant threats we face right now?
  • What are the cold hard facts of this situation?
  • What will happen if we don’t face this issue head on?
  • We’re adults, so let’s handle this. We can do it.
  • Tell it to me straight.
  • What is undiscussable here?
  • When you do this, the impact on me is…
  • When you do this, the impact on the rest of the team is…

Stop avoiding or rushing past the real stuff. Confront Reality to build trust.

Next week: Clarify Expectations.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

See more blog posts on The Speed of Trust.

#1: Leaders Invest in Trust
#2: Credibility Gaps: Leaders Know the Waves of Trust
#3: Behavior, Credibility, and the Wrong Kinds of Trust
#4: Leaders Know Credibility is Driven by Behavior
#5: Build Trust by Talking Straight
#6: Leaders Build Trust by Demonstrating Respect
#7: Leaders Build Trust by Creating Transparency
#8: Leaders Build Trust by Righting Wrongs
#9: Leaders Build Trust by Showing Loyalty
#10: Leaders Build Trust by Delivering Results
#11: Leaders Build Trust by Getting Better

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