Monthly Archives: May 2016

It’s a scary world!

monster-under-bed1Some friends and I were comparing techniques that our parents used to clear the scary monsters from our bedrooms. Opening closet doors, shining flashlights under our beds, shooing them away with a broom, my dad used his “dad” voice to scare them, or comforting words to assure us that we were safe in our house and the monsters couldn’t get in. Phew, we remembered how good it felt to fall asleep, safely.

Flash-forward to today and your work world. What keeps you up at night?  Certainly things like financial constraints, new competition, changing technology, uncertain regulations and the economy can scare us all. As leaders we also need to ask, what keeps our people up at night?

Simon Sinek, author of Leaders Eat Last, suggests that good leaders make their people feel safe at work. In his 2014 TED Talk, Sinek describes the responsibility leaders to behave in ways that create trust and safety at work, because When we feel safe inside the organization, we will naturally combine our talents and our strengths and work tirelessly to face the dangers outside and seize the opportunities.”

I have worked with leaders who helped people feel safe by:

  • providing opportunities to succeed
  • supporting development and education
  • recognizing success
  • building self-confidence
  • accepting mistakes
  • encouraging new ideas
  • treating people as individuals

Overall they demonstrated that they trusted their people and their work.

How can you use your “leadership flashlight” to keep the scary work monsters at bay for your people so that they can be fully engaged at work?

Todd Thorsgaard


Building trust

trusted_advisorAbout ten years ago, I was attending a session by the Great Places to Work Institute, where the speaker was talking about the key elements that make an organization a great place to work. As you might know, one of those elements is trust. As he was talking about building trust he said, “There are no trust neutral interactions.”

That statement has stuck with me since that time. In fact, I’ve found it profound at a very basic level, to realize that every interaction I have has the potential to build trust or break down trust. Every conversation I have with a colleague, every meeting I participate in, and every project team I contribute to, I have the opportunity to build trust or the occasion to break it down.

This month, we will be exploring another leadership competency:  building trust. This is an essential skill that leaders need in order to build and maintain effective working relationships. We’ll look at building trust from both the interpersonal and organizational level. We hope you will join us in this important dialogue and share what you have learned about building trust in your leadership journey.