Trust? You’ll Always Get the Same Answer to This Question
I was once in an internal discussion about Trust. Not predictive trust, which is where a person does what they say they will do. Rather the kind of Trust that Patrick Lencioni speaks of in his book “Five Disfunctions of a Team”. That kind of Trust is the kind where you can be vulnerable and honest without worry of retribution.
Someone asked a coworker if the current environment was this sort of environment. After some thought, I found the question ironic/entertaining. Let’s look at some of the potential realities and what a possible answer might be.
One possibility is that Trust is part of the current environment. If so, the person is feeling safe, that they can be vulnerable and express their honest thoughts. Good thing those honest thought line up with something positive!
But what if the person doesn’t feel this kind of Trust? If they don’t feel they can be honest and vulnerable it is highly unlikely they will honestly say so in a group setting. The only answer that will feel safe it to lie and say that the environment is with that kind of Trust.
There is a third scenario. One where the person doesn’t see a Trusting environment and is willing to say so. If so, either they’ve given up (which is not good for the company), or they’ve already got one foot very far out the door. Either way, not good for the organization.
Lawyers say to never ask a question you don’t know the answer to. I’d say the same is true for questions you don’t want certain answers. I’d suggest also you don’t ask questions where only one answer is likely. Especially when that answer provides no insight and just reminds others that things are not well.