Why is trust a leadership skill that should be taught? That’s a hard question. You can't teach people to trust. One of the reasons is because they are inherently feelings. These are the feelings that we have towards people or an organization and so like all feelings, positive feelings need to be earned. It takes a series of actions to prove that you are worthy of trust and so no matter how excited you are to start a new job and how excited they are to have you, you don't feel the part of the company immediately. It doesn’t happen if you still don't know the language of your new environment; slowly you'll do little things and put yourself out to others little by little. Over the course of six to nine months, you'll start to feel like you belong there.
How do you help organizations turn that around? It comes to the commitment of leadership. Determine the environment, determine how big and how poor the circle of safety is.
For example, look at a company like Goldman Sachs. Goldman Sachs back in the seventies and eighties were the Boy Scouts of Wall Street. That's what they referred to make money, but they had this long perspective, and they were renowned for doing the right thing. Sometimes they took short-term losses because it was the right thing to do. It was their culture and through a series of poor management decisions and also by going public, few things got exaggerated. some of those things were that they no longer put as much importance on evaluating someone's cultural fit when making decisions.
Over time it starts to toxify the culture and you start to see the disintegration of a high-value culture that is no longer about protecting each other and is now about protecting myself. We have seen what's happened that they played a role in what would happen to the economy because without a circle of safety what happens as we inherently concern ourselves with our own survival biologically, we become cynical and selfish, and we become paranoid in the relationship. When we do not feel safe, we will do things to protect ourselves which will ultimately damage and hurt the culture and the company.
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