Help People Learn Skills: Build Trust at Work, Part 3

Did you watch the Olympiad rowing races? We were just talking with a client whose son was at one time an Olympic rowing hopeful.

When he competed at the national level, he had to earn his spot on the team not by how well he performed, but by how well the crew performed when he was a part of it.

Olympic rowing crews have eight athletes who’re nearly identical. Raw skill, talent, physical strength – there’s not much difference among them.

The competitions are 1.24 miles. The margin by which those races are won or lost?

2 inches.

What do you suppose allows the winning boat to pull ahead?

Rhythm. Chemistry. Teamwork.

Technical skill? Tenacity? Strength? Not enough. Olympic rowers make the cut by tuning in to how their individual efforts contribute to – or get in the way of – the team’s objective. By being empathetic.

By caring more about the boat than themselves.

Does this sound like your team? Or is your team not that in sync – yet?

Your team can develop this level – a world class level – of teamwork. Working with other people fluidly, collaboratively, trustingly is a skill. An acquirable skill. A skill you can lead the people in your team to acquire – through working this week’s Trust Tip:

Build Trust of Capability: Help People Learn Skills

Helping people learn new skills is a behavior that builds Trust of Capability. You can use this Tip to support people to develop a range of new skills. In my experience, the skill people need the most support to master is building and sustaining high trust, highly collaborative relationships that produce results.

This Tip will help you take a step to master that skill…and help others take a step to master it, as well.

If you’re already signed up for Reina’s newsletter, this Tip will be delivered straight to your inbox. If you haven’t signed up yet, please do.

You’ll not only get this Tip, but also get on the list to regularly get fresh, research-backed tips and tools to help you and the people in your team work together more effectively.

Yours in trust,

Dennis Reina, PhD


What you can learn from over a million people who healed their relationships

“It is well with me only when I have a chisel in my hand.”

– Michelangelo


I don’t do well when I don’t know what to do next.

When I spin.

When I’m riddled with doubt.

I actually feel physical pain when I’m deeply uncertain about which course of action will produce my desired result.

How about you? I’d imagine you’re not a big fan of ambiguity, either. Especially when it comes to negotiating your relationships. And especially when it comes to healing relationships that have gone off track.

Here’s where I can help.

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3 ways to leverage self-awareness and keep from hurting people

Do you remember when you learned to read a stop sign? Probably not. You were pretty young.

But now that you know, you can’t go back to seeing just a bunch of white squiggles on a red background, right? You’re aware.

This awareness is potent. It keeps you from hurting other people or yourself when you’re behind the wheel.

Self-awareness keeps you from hurting people, too.

Here are 3 ways to develop it:

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5 steps to release anger and rebuild trust

I was just in Manhattan facilitating a trust workshop. Women leaders from all over the metropolitan area had rolled up their sleeves, ‘gone to work,’ and stepped into real conversations about trust.

In a powerful truth-speaking moment, one woman asked a provocative question about trust – or, rather, the lack of it:

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3 Truths about Trust and Betrayal from Maria Sharapova

For 11 years, tennis player Maria Sharapova has been #1 on Forbes’ list of highest paid female athletes. During a recent press conference, we learned for the last 10 of those years she’s been taking Meldonium, a medication the World Anti-Doping Agency (WADA) has now banned as a performance-enhancing substance.

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Build Trust through Broken Promises

People often tell me how much they need to be able to count on one another to come through, particularly during this period of doing more with less.

Think about it for a moment. When you do what you said you’d do, you give people concrete evidence that you can be trusted. Trust is your relationships’ adhesive. Without it, everything gets harder and takes longer.

Simple, right?

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stepping stones across turbulent waters representing seven steps to telling difficult truths

How to Tell a Difficult Truth in 7 Straightforward Steps

Telling the truth can be difficult.

In my work, people ask me to help them strengthen trust in their relationships. I work with individual leaders; other times with teams or entire organizations. Regardless of the scope of the engagement or place in the world I’m working, however, I’ve found that when it comes to trust, the same core issues surface. Among the most challenging of these issues?

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8 Steps to Keep Distrust from Boiling Over

Betrayal is in the news. It seems like every time I tune in – to CNN, to The Wall Street Journal, to Twitter – people are shining the spotlight on people who’ve betrayed others through glaring, headline-grabbing offenses.

Government leaders. Police officers. CEOs. Athletes. Celebrities.

So many people are talking about the big things people do to break trust.

Yet, through more than two decades spent researching the ins and outs of trust and its shadow, betrayal, I’ve discovered this critical truth:

While betrayal can happen swiftly and dramatically, more often it creeps up on us over time.

Like water coming to a boil, distrust can occur cumulatively. It can gather force through subtle, fleeting incidents that, at first blush, may not even ‘count’ as betrayals:

“I know it shouldn’t matter, but it really upsets me that she’s late to every one of my meetings. I feel like she doesn’t value my time and energy.”

“I know I shouldn’t let it get to me, but I’m at the end of my rope. I can’t stand how he always talks over me. It’s like he cares more about his own opinion than about our relationship.”

“I wish that for once she would just let go and let me do my job. She constantly downplays my skills and experience. It’s as if what I bring to the table doesn’t even matter.”

“He never mentions my contributions. I’ve been here 5 years, and never even a ‘thank you.’ I feel like he thinks anyone could do my job. Like I’m expendable.”

Little by little, a sense of betrayal can build, as others’ behaviors chip away at trust…wear us down…cause us to question and doubt. While in the moment we may brush off each incident of the behavior, given enough time the behavioral pattern can create an impact that’s impossible to ignore. Why?

Because left unaddressed, minor, fleeting breaches of trust add up to betrayal, communicating powerful, enduring messages:

“To the other person, this relationship doesn’t matter very much.”

 “My time and energy aren’t important.”

 “My work effort is never enough.”

And perhaps even, “I, as a person, am expendable.”

Does this resonate with you? Have you or someone you’ve worked with closely been on the receiving end of behaviors that made you question if the other person valued their relationship with you…not just as a professional with assignments to complete, but as a person?

Let me ask you, how did this impact your work and life? Were you able to carry on as if nothing had happened? Or, might it be that your energy and confidence took a hit?

In my work – in every corner of the world – people tell me that when they experience this ‘incremental’ breach of trust, their physical and emotional well-being declines.

They suffer anything from difficultly concentrating on the work…to maintaining confidence in themselves…to trouble staying focused on the path ahead…to headaches and fatigue…to the loss of joy.

They tell me, time and time again, the impacts from incremental breaches of trust on their personal and professional lives rival the impacts of a single major betrayal of trust.

How can you keep betrayal from creeping up on you?

A second critical truth I’ve learned about the erosion of trust is the vast majority of people do not set out to hurt, let down, or disappoint others. Yet, at some point in time, they do. We all do. You don’t mean to. But at times you loose sight, become over extended, and trip up.

I do as well.

On one end of the spectrum, the impact of our behavior may cause trust to be vulnerable. On the other end, to break trust down and cause others to feel betrayed. As if what they have to bring to the world doesn’t count. As if they don’t count.

So, here are 8 steps to avoid breaching trust and causing others to feel betrayed:

  1. Recognize that your behavior matters and has an impact on people.
  2. Set intentions for how you aspire to bring yourself to others. This clarity will prepare you to have a positive impact and be experienced as trustworthy.
  3. Remember what it is that you have to bring to others in your relationships.
  4. Consider how your current behavior aligns with your intentions.
  5. Observe where you may be tripping up and letting others down. Reflect on how you can redirect.
  6. Take responsibility for your actions and their impacts.
  7. Know that betrayal can be a teacher. At times, you can learn the most about trust from its loss.
  8. Extend compassion. 90% of the behaviors that impact trust are unconscious habits and knee-jerk reactions. Don’t beat yourself up if it takes time to shift ingrained practices.

And remember, should you discover that you’ve unintentionally let someone down, resulting in a sense of distrust in one of your relationships…there is a path forward.

Yours in trust,

Michelle Reina

A Leader’s Guide to Asking for Support

How do people develop into transformational leaders? Is it through coaching? Training? Educating?

According to Bank of Maroda Chairman Ravi Venkatesan in his insightful piece Building leadership: Unleash the disrupters, it’s none of those things:

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Do your relationships have cracks?

Over the years, people have asked us why we called our book Trust and Betrayal in the Workplace.

Betrayal is a strong word. It’s complex and emotionally provocative. For some, it’s downright off-putting.

“When you used the word betrayal,” people have said, “surely you knew you’d risk losing potential readers. If you wanted to make a contribution – to make people’s lives better – why would you use a word that could make people uncomfortable? Or, even push them away from your message?”

The truth?

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