In the Kingdom, we always start from a place of safety. Because of this, any leader can introduce a Kingdom culture from which everyone benefits (regardless of their faith). 

Incredible things happen when you work with God rather than for Him.

Let’s talk about trust.

We all know when it’s lacking in an environment, but what effect does it have on individuals in a team setting?

The Biological Effects of Trust

When you operate in trust with those around you, you feel safe and your brain releases dopamine. The positive centers of your mind fire, allowing heightened creativity, divergent thinking, and increased cognitive control. 

A safe environment creates a powerful shift in team dynamics. Collaboration and innovation thrive. Productivity increases and interpersonal relationships benefit.

In contrast, our brains are flushed with cortisol when we feel unsafe. This actively lessens our intellect and cognitive ability.

When workers are immersed in an unsafe environment, we see a direct connection in peak brain performance: creativity centers in the brain shut down. The focus draws inward – our energy is consumed in protecting ourselves – which leads to isolation and schisms. 

How can we expect a team to perform at a high level when creative and problem-solving abilities are handicapped? It’s simply not sustainable. 

Ready to foster a culture of trust in your environment?

Here are 10 simple habits you can start today:


10 Habits that Build Trust

  1. Always speak about others as if they’re in the room.
  2. Actively protect those who are not in the conversation.
  3. Do not trade in negative inferences.
  4. Show appreciation with precision.
  5. Give negative feedback with a kind tone.
  6. Receive negative feedback with a sincere, “Thank you, I appreciate that.” AND STOP TALKING.
  7. When we have an issue, complain to that someone. If you can’t, complain up, NEVER sideways
  8. When someone makes a mistake, correct them gently and consider their growth potential.
  9. Proactively admit our own mistakes. Share good news fast, and bad news faster.
  10. Never add a personal pronoun to a negative. (Failure doesn’t determine your identity, it levels up your growth). 


What builds trust?

  1. Genuine Appreciation. Provide highly precise compliments. Give specific and truthful details highlighting performance. (Ex. Thank you for such a timely reply! Or, I appreciate the meticulous details you put into that report, etc.)

  2. Kind Negative Feedback. When we provide correction, we are not calling people out, we are calling people up into a new identity. Safety to fail creates space for both their growth and your own! 

As a leader, practice soliciting negative feedback from your peers, colleagues, and direct reports. It is CRUCIAL you do not defend, deflect, or excuse your behavior. Receive negative feedback with grace and take time to consider the veracity of the feedback. Take special note: the more you develop yourself as a leader, the more intentionally you will have to solicit negative feedback from trusted associates. If this is neglected, your upwards momentum can be truncated. We all have blind spots, use your team to catalyze growth instead of avoiding discomfort. 


What destroys trust?

  1. Taking the negative to the wrong person. We never complain sideways, always up. If your attempt to constructively resolve conflict with a team member is unsuccessful, enlist the help of a manager or appropriate leader. Avoid complaining to colleagues or soliciting input from other team members that are not involved in that person’s management team.


  2. Be clear and specific when addressing conflict. Instead of sharing, “The team feels…” include specific individuals. One team member’s negative opinion may feel like it carries weight but may actually be a small representation of the overall team. When seeking solutions, be sure to understand the actual scope of the problem. Additionally, don’t trade in negative inferences and do give specific feedback. Do not leave generalizations to the negative imagination. Take care not to overrepresent the effect or size of the mistake. Own mistakes clearly and respond with conclusions that match the magnitude of the issue at hand. 

Want to take it a step further? Ask yourself…

#2 – Do I need to change any habits that are hurting trust in our organization?

#3 – What new habits do I/we need to change this week?

– Dionne van Zyl, President of Brilliant Perspectives


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