You Can’t Hurry Trust . . . You Just Have to Wait

Thu, Feb 18, 2010

Workplace TrustThere is an old song first sung by the Supremes, and later by Phil Collins and others, called “You Can’t Hurry Love.” The lyrics often run through my mind when I am working with leadership teams. Only the problem isn’t love. It is trust. You really can't hurry trust. As an organizational consultant and executive coach, I have often been hired to help teams who are struggling to perform optimally. More often than not, I find that there is a fundamental trust issue within the team.

This is a common and difficult issue to remedy. In this time of reduced budgets, clients want quick fixes. I have learned the hard way that it takes time, commitment, and multiple approaches to build or restore trust between otherwise well-intentioned leadership peers.

I have worked with a number of leadership teams over the course of many months. The most successful results occur when there is the luxury of time to design and implement a series of well-designed, structured offsites, with time in between for leaders to try new behaviors and build stronger working relationships. I hesitate when I am asked to fix a trust issue with a 4 hour offsite. I tell clients that these tangled situations are like a ball of yarn that has gotten knotted and snarled. If you pull too hard and too fast it just makes the tangle tighter. However, by gently pulling from the outside, it is possible to untangle the knots.

The Supremes hit song goes on to say, “love won’t come easy, it’s a game of give and take.”  Likewise, developing trusting workplace relationships doesn’t come easy. Some have to give up judgments of others that they have been holding on to for a long time. Others need to forgive. And everyone usually needs to step up and be accountable for their part in the process. It truly is a game of give and take. And sometimes, teams have to wait and work through the process. Often, it takes a skilled and objective outside facilitator to help the untangling process.  With commitment from all, trust can come sort of easy and you don't have to wait too long!

Enjoy the version of You Can’t Hurry Love I found on You Tube. See if it has application to your leadership team!

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

Marcia Ruben Ph.D, PCC, CMC

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