Demystifying Trust with Antoinette Weibel

“Are we ready to drop our masks and share our deeper selves ? “

Antoinette and I have a rich and fun conversation on Trust, a much used term that everyone has their own definition of. This is clearly not a ‘technical’ challenge and we explore how to understand the mechanics of trust, inter-dependance & inclusion in organisations. We discuss the skills necessary for a more compassionate and emotional leadership style, and the power of the present moment. How could this play out in the different HR systems and processes if we deliberately designed systems for trust  ? Can we use this to unlock potential as we move into a more interconnected workplace where care and compassion trump competition and individual performance?

Antoinette shares her research, experience and wealth of insights on this complex subject and shares her thoughts and insights on the place of trust in the digital workplace.

The main insights you will get from this episode are :

  • Trust is key to creating a better working environment but is not easy to define. It has three components: how you show up, how others believe you show up, and the space between the two (i.e. the quality of the relationship).
  • To trust is to take a leap of faith, seen as ‘touch-feely’ in the business world, which is problematic in the workplace given that feelings are not spoken about. It is these human aspects, however, that will keep us relevant in an increasingly technological world.
  • Trust means demonstrating vulnerability, integrity, compassion and the ability to ask for help and allow intimacy; we must understand compassion and what it means and understand that we are not independent but interdependent.
  • A company’s success is not down to the CEO but to everyone who shared ideas and created synergy. Individual leaders can work on their own vulnerability but how can this be scaled up? How do we operationalise the subject of trust?
  • Existing HR/leadership systems are essentially based on distrust (e.g. competition, individual performance evaluations). Evidence shows that it is not possible to measure individual knowledge in an environment and that evaluations contain more biases than truths.
  • We must work on learning to understand team performance, which requires leadership, accountability and courageous conversations. All instruments and crutches should be stripped away to allow trust to form; leadership training should not be about tools.
  • HR should see everyone as ‘human’ and a ‘talent’, not simply a resource. Inclusive talent management will help provide what might be needed in the future. Everyday microlearning is not always obvious but leaders must ask questions and use strength-based approaches.
  • COVID has provided a reason to be more radical and make changes to garner competitive advantage and retain talent. This mandates a humanist approach that fosters inclusion and diversity as a means to change systems and mindsets.
  • The post-pandemic landscape leaves an unknown (work)space to be defined but trust must be created. The hybrid work model will hopefully make presenteeism and ‘toxic bosses’ a thing of the past as people will leave an organisation they do not trust.
  • We must discuss technology and how we use it to serve the human good; it should not exploit humans or extract their knowledge. We must compensate for the challenges it presents by overinvesting in trust.
  • It also raises ethical questions and makes leaders’ jobs more difficult as machines are not always right. Smart machines and AI highlight our failings when it comes to understanding trust at even the most basic level, which could have dystopian consequences.
  • We must ask the right questions, experiment, measure outcomes, and try to find the right technical adaptive solution that allows connection on a human level and encourages us to sit with and cultivate our feelings (= mindfulness and compassion).
  • Leaders looking to understand the mechanics of trust must work on trustability and focus their organisations on learning and collaboration. We should all try to make society more caring and compassionate as differences and privileges will remain among us.
  • We need contextual eco-leadership that brings about a shift from ego to eco (both across society and within organisations) and chooses vulnerability over bravado. The dire need for this is evident in the current trust crisis, which demonstrates high levels of distrust, particularly at CEO level.

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Suzie Lewis

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