Overcoming Doubts and Building Trust

Overcoming Doubts and Building Trust

“As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

No word creates more energy and discussion than trust. In leadership, so many passionate conversations are based around this word that can include:

  • Do I trust this new hire?
  • Do I trust this salesperson?
  • Do I trust this business deal?
  • Do I trust my colleague?
  • Do I trust my new manager?
  • Do I trust this decision?

I am sure you could add a few. The list goes on and on, and if you listen and look closely, what you can see behind the questions is doubt. Doubt and uncertainty – these are two words that have more energy than trust. Leaders are faced with moving teams forward despite these doubts, fears, and uncertainty of emotions every day.

The fears held by the people on your team can hold them back from performing. When you are looking to move forward, aligned to a vision and producing results, these fears and especially times of change can erode the trust you have built over time. I encourage you to reflect on the following quotes and eight tips to prepare you to overcome the shifting tides of doubt and instead work on building trust.

“When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously.”

Shakti Gawain

1. Fall back on your vision.

Define what you believe in and be able to articulate it clearly.

2. Do your homework.

When you are going to communicate a message of change or challenge, vet it first amongst peers and naysayers. Get many perspectives and be prepared to answer and respond to the questions.

3. Encourage questions.

Remember doubt comes through questions and this provides an open door to learning, growth, and engagement for all involved.

4. Be transparent.

Share with others small wins you have seen or experienced by moving in this direction. Share the risks you have vetted and mitigated before beginning the journey.

“Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself.”

John Harold

5. Speak the truth over and over.

State their fears, doubts, and uncertainties and shine light on them. Share with them your insights, experiences, and beliefs.

6. Remain open-minded.

Explore with others all the options you have considered, see if they have other ideas, and generate new and different thinking. Get others to tell their stories of when they learned to go in new directions.

7. Empower your team.

Be aware that others’ doubt and uncertainty are not about you, it is about a lack of trust in self. The willingness to take the adventure into the unknown is filled with uncertainty, mistakes, and potential failure. What they don’t realize is that staying the same can still be filled with uncertainty, mistakes, and potential failure.

“Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if..”; And then do it.”

Duane Michals

Being a leader means you are often in the position of defining new paths and moving into new areas. You have learned to trust the voice inside you that says, “wouldn’t it be interesting if…” and if you are this type of person, then you have to get good at reaching out to others and help them learn to trust themselves as they move into the mystery … with you.