Floating Icons on Left Border

How Great Leaders Overcome the Fear of Trusting in Their Team

  • 29th Jun'22

We intuitively assess the risk whenever we are about to make a difficult decision or try something new. We ask ourselves lots of new questions that start with the phrase, "But what if?" That sentence is then followed by a list of possible concerns, all of which have various degrees of probability based on experience, fears, and worst-case scenarios.

Everyone is afraid of something. Some phobias protect us from very real dangers, while others immobilize us irrationally. I've looked into what I've found to be the most common worries that prevent people from moving from Command & Control to Trust & Inspire. Here, we'll look at a common concern and give a solution that will help leaders overcome the fear of trusting in their team.


But What If It Doesn't Work?

The outcomes are the responsibility of the core leadership. It can be daunting to consider trying a new approach to leading when it may endanger the perceived certainty of the expected outcome. It has a chance of failing. Likewise, it may or may not work. There is a danger.

The game, however, has changed. If you haven't already, you'll soon discover that expecting you to keep getting the "normal outcomes" with the same strategy has a far higher risk. Few of us can afford to compete in today's world with yesterday's command and control leadership style.

Solution: A Trust & Inspire leader strikes a balance between risk and reward.

Mindset: I believe that the possible profit will surpass the danger.

"Failure and creation are inseparable twins," stated Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. "If you're skilled at course correcting, being wrong may be less expensive than you expect," Bezos wrote in a letter to shareholders, "whereas being slow is going to be expensive for sure."

This has become the new paradigm for technological innovation: fail fast, learn fast. The truth is that risk and reward are inextricably linked. Every time you try something new, there's a chance it won't work out. However, there is a chance that it will succeed! There are times when the danger is greater than the reward. After assessing the job at hand, ask questions like: What are the hazards involved? How likely are those dangers, and how significant are they? Is your team prepared and equipped to take on this challenge? 


Finding Balance

Always aim to strike a balance between risk and reward. In doing so, I've noticed that most people are more concerned with minimizing risk than with maximizing reward. Instead of focusing on what could go wrong, consider what could go right when your team is empowered, engaged, and even inspired. From the beginning, Netflix has placed importance on trust in organization and their customers in their workforce. They bravely took a chance and disrupted themselves in their early years as a brand. They split their company into two parts: one for their previous business of mailing movies and the other for their new streaming service.

Creating two different businesses wasn't always a bad idea. However, they made a major blunder by requiring people to subscribe to both services individually. It was despised by customers. They felt taken advantage of, and their faith in the organization was shaken. Netflix had to pay a price for its blunder. However, they swiftly changed their minds. They returned and effectively said, "We are aware of your concerns. You are correct, and we have faith in you." They returned to the model of a single firm providing both services. Take a look at their current success.

Netflix refers to its employees' trust as "freedom and responsibility." It's a good example of sensible trust as well as risk and returns ideas. "Our goal is to inspire people more than manage them," their leadership team said in a statement on business culture. We trust our teams to do what they believe is best for Netflix, and we provide them with a lot of freedom, power, and information to help them make those decisions. As a result, we develop a sense of responsibility and self-discipline, which motivates us to do exceptional work for the organization. The lesson is this:


The Result is Outstanding

They go on like this, "That freedom is occasionally exploited, but those are the exceptions, and we avoid overcorrecting. Because a few people abuse freedom, that doesn't mean our employees aren't deserving of our trust."


Their communication style is Trust & Inspire

Yes, there is a risk, but the payoff is enormous, far bigger than what a regular organization could achieve. It results in the type of performance that people simply do not give in response to Command & Control.

Those rules don't only apply to Netflix. Remember that high-trust organizations are eleven times more innovative than low-trust organizations, according to a Forbes study. There's no doubt that some of these leaders pondered the same question along the way: "What if this doesn't work?" If you honestly believe that people have immense potential, keeping that potential untapped is an unacceptable risk.


Shellye is committed to helping people from diverse backgrounds to achieve their aspirations in careers and life. The content published above was made in collaboration with our members. Get Instant access to Shellye's community right now.

Shellye Archambeau is determined to help you with all possible strategies to climb the ladder of success. She values your feedback. Do mention them in the comment section below.


Post Your Comment