Acknowledge everyone’s effort.
Taking responsibility for a personal miscue is hard. Admitting that you were hurt by the outcome of someone else’s miscue is not any easier. No matter what role you play in the conversation, don’t let someone’s apology, confession, or admittance of hurt be swept under the rug. These are big risks that must be acknowledged and encouraged. Letting someone know that they’ve been heard makes them feel valued, which ultimately increases trust.
Don’t mistake hurtful comments for “honesty”.
Honesty is not an excuse to say whatever we want. Honesty within collaboration is most effective when the speaker places greater importance on the hearers’ improvement than on their own vengeful satisfaction. It’s the difference between selfish and generous honesty. Generous honesty builds trust, selfish honesty build our ego, which always tears trust down.
Vulnerability doesn’t make you weak. (As long as everyone else is also being vulnerable)
I see vulnerability as “the openness to being affected by…” Taking off your emotional armor and exposing yourself can be very scary. It’s a lot less scary if everyone else is joining you though. Strangely enough, there is greater trust in a room full of naked people than in one naked person among a hundred business suits*.
‘We’ not ‘I’
This step encapsulates all the others. The strongest teams have a ‘we’ mentality over an ‘I’ mentality. Everyone on the teams works not for themselves and their own egos, but for the betterment of the project as a whole. A ‘we’ mentality is the biggest key to getting through those tough conversations, building trust within them, and getting back to the work of vital creation.
*Please not that I am not actually advocating fully nude collaboration.
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