PHOTO CREDIT: Stock Unlimited

This past weekend, I learned a lesson in trust. I broke down and bought one of those “Roombas”. If you’re not familiar with this techno tool, allow me to explain: Think absolute magic for anyone who can’t stand housework.  It’s a round gadget, about a foot in diametre, that has little wheels and travels around a room automatically vacuuming everything in its path. It’s absolutely great. Today, I vacuumed while I wasn’t even home!

As I watched this machine go to work, it was pretty obvious that it knew what it was doing. I soon felt comfortable enough to leave it on its own. A half hour later, the machine beeped that it had completed the room. At that point, I got up, checked the job, cleaned out the machine, then repeated it all over again in another room. Then it struck me and I chuckled at the parallels between this Roomba and how people communicate trust. 

Do you manage employees? Supervise volunteers? Work with colleagues or clients? Then you know how important trust is. It’s the foundation of relationships. Without trust, there is doubt, uncertainty, and untold stress. If you trust people, let them know it. But how? Here are some suggestions:

Demonstrate your trust: Delegate, don’t micro-manage.

  • All professionals take pride in their work. That’s why, whether you delegate or not, you want the end product to be of excellent quality. Sometimes, when we micro-manage, it’s because we are coming from a place of fear. The temptation to control every minute detail is immense because we care. The recipient of this micro-managing reads this behavior as mistrust. In addition, it’s discouraging and demotivating to be under the thumb of someone. It allows no room to grow. It’s much more productive when you delegate and then, let go.

Set the trust guidelines: Communicate parameters.

  • If you’re working with other people and counting on them to pull their load, make sure you clearly communicate what you need and when… then leave the “how” up to the people implementing. That doesn’t mean they have carte blanche — it means they can use their creativity and expertise toward common goals.

Trust takes time: Keep on communicating.

  • Build in milestones and checkpoints where you will be advised of the status. If possible, face-to-face updates are great. They can be formal or informal, depending on the complexity of the project and what you delegated. These milestone touch-points will assure your comfort level that the task assigned is on track. Trusting someone doesn’t mean that you relieve yourself from responsibility. Quite to the contrary. You’re still responsible, so staying connected makes sense. Be connected, not crushing.

Give trust room to grow: Support from afar.

  • Once you’ve delegated, let the person know that you’re accessible and then, make sure you’re available when they need you. Support may come in various forms such as providing training, assuring adequate funding, and being available to provide guidance, approval and decisions. Assuming a hands-off approach doesn’t mean abdicating your role as the lead; it means giving enough space for others to do their jobs without being suffocated. The space communicates trust. Being accessible communicates support.

If you want harmonious relationships, trusting — and communicating that trust — is essential. Assign the task, then let them go to work and do what they do best. If they “beep” and need your help, check on them and give them the support they need to get them going in the right direction. I’ll remember these lessons every time I speak to a client on the subject of delegation … and every time I use my Roomba. I hope these tips (including the one about the Roomba) help you too.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on how delegating effectively communicates trust. Just post your comments below:

Until next time, here’s to …
Better communication, Better business, Better life!
Marion Grobb Finkelstein
Keynote Speaker / Corporate Trainer / Author  

© 2011-2019 Marion Grobb Finkelstein
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Marion Grobb Finkelstein

Marion Grobb Finkelstein helps leaders use their natural communication strengths to build resilient teams that talk.

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