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October 9, 2014

“I Trust You”

Filed under: Communication,Management Practices4:08 pm

I was part of an HR department of four.  Our HR Manager had just been asked to resign.  So, without a leader in the department, our executive vice president quickly organized the remaining three of us to run the department and perform “management tasks” for the next few weeks ahead.  It was a great learning experience, and we kept everything going very smoothly right up to when we recruited, hired, and onboarded our new boss, Mary.

I learned more about myself in the time I worked with Mary than I ever knew before.  I learned the difference between a leader and a manager.  In the first week of her arrival, she wasn’t barking orders, changing processes, or micromanaging anything.  Rather, she calmly acknowledged the situation that we had thrust upon us and commended us for carrying the load absent a department manager.  She didn’t know us yet as individuals, she didn’t know how we worked, our personal moral codes, or our competencies, but she encouraged us to continue doing what we had been doing.  Then, she said three words that still ring in my ears today, “I trust you.”

That was a leap of faith on her part to trust three people she didn’t yet know.  Those three words were the biggest motivator I have ever experienced in the workplace.  By her saying, “I trust you,” it was like her reaffirming to us that we were professionals, adults, and we were experts in our area of human resources and capable of anything that we wanted to do.  It was powerful!  As time went by, she continued to demonstrate her trust, not just saying it, but in the way she led us as a team and as individuals.  She was a great coach and always asked the right questions, to move us to reach the proper conclusions.  She fostered autonomy by letting us do the jobs we had been hired to do, only she made us better!  Have you told your employees lately, “I trust you”?

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