The Chemistry of Trust: 8 Ways to Build More of It

What if you could be the kind of leader whose team had increased energy, was more productive, collaborated better with their colleagues, and stayed with your organization longer? What if your people suffered less chronic stress and were happier with their lives?

In the Neuroscience of Trust, published in a recent issue of Harvard Business Review, Paul Zak suggests that you can be that kind of leader by increasing trust on your team. He proposes eight management behaviors to help you do so. In considering his ideas, I matched his suggestions up against the Business Chemistry types, knowing that different things make the various types tick. Here are the eight proposed behaviors and the types with which they’re most likely to be effective…

Induce “challenge” stress. Zak suggests that challenge stress, brought on by assigning teams difficult but achievable tasks, releases chemicals in our brains that increase social connections. This technique may be particularly effective for Drivers, who are more likely than the other types to report that they thrive in the face of challenging tasks. 1

Give people discretion in how they do their work. In other words, enable autonomy by allowing people to complete projects in their own way—if you trust your people, they’re more likely to trust you. When asked about autonomy, Pioneers and Drivers (particularly D-Scientists) say it’s more important to them than Integrators and Guardians do.

Enable job crafting. Job crafting means, in part, empowering people to choose which projects they work on. This technique may be particularly successful with Pioneers, who are the most likely type to say they thrive when they have opportunities to learn and try new things. Who knows better which work has the right level of “new” than your people themselves?

Share information widely. Zak suggests that lack of information about an organization’s direction can cause chronic stress among employees. Cultivating trust by sharing such information may be most essential with Guardians, who our research suggests experience the highest levels of stress, and are also the type most likely to say clear expectations are important to them.

Recognize excellence. A little recognition is likely to go long a long way for all types of people, but our research shows that Guardians and Integrators are more likely than Pioneers and Drivers to say that recognition is a key ingredient for them to thrive at work. Given that the work of these types can sometimes go unseen, acknowledging their contributions could be a particularly effective trust-builder with them.

Intentionally build relationships. Zak cites his own research suggesting that creating social ties at work improves performance. This may be particularly valuable with Integrators, who are the most relationship-focused type and also the most likely to say that working with people they enjoy is a priority for them. A little bit of focused attention to relationship-building can help in creating mutual trust.

Facilitate whole person growth. By whole-person growth Zak means helping people grow both professionally and personally, and that can mean different things for different people. While all the types put a high priority on a feeling of accomplishment, Drivers, particularly D-Commanders, are more likely than the other types to say advancement is important to them, while Guardians and Integrators prioritize work-life balance more than others, and Pioneers are the most likely type to say it’s important to know they’re making a difference in the world. When your people know you understand them and see them as people, not just employees, they’re more likely to put their trust in you.

Show vulnerability: As a leader, being vulnerable enough to ask for help when you need it is perhaps one of the scariest but most effective means of role-modeling trust. Doing so demonstrates to all types of people that asking for help is okay, that they can trust you enough to ask when they need it. By asking your people to have your back, you’ll show them that you’re going to have theirs. And isn’t that really what trust is all about?

Dr. Suz

Suzanne Vickberg, PhD (aka Dr. Suz)

Dr. Suz is the Greenhouse Team’s very own social-personality psychologist, which means she studies how people’s thoughts, behaviors and preferences are influenced by both who they are and the situations they’re in. She uses Business Chemistry to help teams explore how the mix of perspectives brought by their individual members influences their work together. Follow her on Twitter @DrSuzBizChem

1Research findings in this post are based on a study with 13,885 professionals of varying levels working outside Deloitte, in the US and elsewhere. Participants represent more than 1,200 organizations across various industries, and 115 countries overall. During the period of February, 2016 to November, 2016 participants completed the Business Chemistry assessment online and also answered questions about their career aspirations, career priorities, and the working conditions under which they thrive. For each question, respondents were asked to select their top three options out of a list of 10. The margin error for this sample is less than two percentage points at a 95 percent confidence level, for all Business Chemistry types.

Business, Life, and Coffee podcast, “The Four Personality Types That Dominate The C-Suite”

56a8aa9eca44b8450c5cb5bd_loThe Business, Life, and Coffee Podcast hosted by Joey Price, CEO of Jumpstart HR, speaks with Kim Christfort, National Managing Director of The Deloitte Greenhouse Experience team.  Kim shares her insights on Deloitte’s newly published research,  Business Chemistry in the C-suite.  They also discuss how Business Chemistry can help forge stronger working relationships and how leaders can accomplish more with diverse teams.  Listen and share your thoughts!

Chemistry in the C-suite webcast now available on demand

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More than 1,000 people joined our live webcast about the findings from the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience’s new study, Business Chemistry in the C-suite. A replay of the webcast is now available on demand.

Kim Christfort, the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience National Managing Director and one of the original architects of Business Chemistry, and Suzanne Vickberg, social-personality psychologist and Business Chemistry’s lead researcher, provided insights for current and aspiring leaders, as well as those who work with them.  Topics included the following:

  • Results of our study and findings related to function, organization size, industry, and gender
  • Insights about the traits that uniquely characterize C-suite executives
  • Tips that aspiring executives can consider in their own career paths
  • Strategies for leaders and those who work with them to use their understanding of various working styles to manage and benefit from diversity

 

Take a Lunch Break with Wall Street Journal Live, “Can a successful executive not be disciplined?”

WSJLiveDeloitte’s new study, Business Chemistry in the C-suite. was featured on Wall Street Journal Live’s Lunch Break.

“What drives the success of C-suite executives? National Managing Director for the Deloitte Greenhouse Experience Kim Christfort reveals the results of a survey of nearly 700 executives that shows while they are similar to many professionals, they are unique in their approach to problems in creative thinking.”

Business Chemistry in the C-suite

New survey finds C-suite has key differences from general business population

The latest Business Chemistry® research CxO_Image_350X350surveyed 661 C-suite executives to learn more about their working styles, the impact of organizational and demographic factors on common characteristics, and the unique traits that set CxOs apart from the typical professional. These findings can help inform current executives on team building, inspire aspirational professionals in shaping their career priorities, and build a better understanding of CxO preferences for anyone who works with them. Read the full report and watch the video to learn more about the findings.

Listen to a replay of our webcast to learn more about the insights from this new research. In this webcast, we:

  • Explore the results of our study and highlight findings related to function, organization size, industry, and gender
  • Share insights about the traits that uniquely characterize C-suite executives
  • Provide tips that aspiring next-generation executives can consider in their own career paths
  • Suggest strategies for leaders (and those who work with them) to use their understanding of various working styles to manage and benefit from diversity

Listen now! Confessions Podcast Ep. 2: “There is no “I” in we.”

promo_theresnoiinweIn the next episode of our Business Chemistry Confessions Podcast Series we explore whether leaders should be willing to change for the good of the team. This episode uncovers a team dynamic that wasn’t working for Ritwik. When he tries to force his own working style on his team, who has a very different style, there are unintended consequences to the team’s performance.

In Ritwik’s own words:”I am an agenda driven person and my team was full of ideas. When I would stop conversations in meetings that seemed off-topic, the team would just shut down. They just saw me as aloof and my need to stick to agendas impacted our team’s performance.”

 
Ritwik discovered that by flexing his style he could contribute to a more dynamic and successful team. Learn how you can do the same.

Listen today on your favorite device.

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How leaders achieve harmony in business

harmony in business

I recently saw a TED talk that fascinated me, Itay Talgam’s much-watched “Lead Like the Great Conductors”.1 During his talk, Talgam, a conductor and business consultant, expertly weaves the conductor-orchestra metaphor through a discussion of leadership as could be applied to any team. As a former orchestra flutist, what really struck me about this talk was that it’s a fantastic illustration of one of the main tenets of Business Chemistry, that each of us is a unique combination of all four types, and it’s our ability to flex between these styles that may be our greatest strength as leaders. Indeed, research shows that great leaders use a variety of styles, depending on the situation, to get results.2

Consider the responsibilities of a conductor: define the tone and set the tempo, unify 100 independent musicians while bringing out the best in each performer, provide real-time performance feedback, and create an experience for the audience. How do conductors achieve all this…without a saying a word? Talgam guides us through a tour of the leadership styles of some of the world’s greatest conductors, and explores the possible pitfalls of leaning too heavily on one style.

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When You’ve Got Tough Feedback to Give, Flex Your Style


An old maxim cautions: “There is only one way to avoid criticism: do nothing, say nothing and be nothing.” We live in a world where feedback is unavoidable. And for most of us who deliver feedback to others, our default tendency is to give praise or constructive criticism in the way we like to hear it.

The trouble is, taking a universal approach to communicating with others works to our detriment. When we use a “standard template” for conveying praise or corrective advice, we’re practically inviting misunderstandings and broken trust. Just imagine the aftermath of giving hard-hitting feedback–with little context–to your most sensitive but reliable worker. More than just hurt feelings, we can actually distract a person from our main message with an ill-chosen delivery!

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Flex Your Influence Style to Boost Your Impact

You and I don’t know each other. And yet, I’m pretty sure we have something important in common. And further, what you and I have in common we also share with leaders of all kinds, politicians, sales reps, and my 10-year-old son. What might that be, you ask? We all spend a lot of time and energy trying to influence others.

What we may not share are the strategies we most commonly use in our influence attempts. I tend toward supporting my point of view with evidence and data. My son, on the other hand, has perfected the strategy of wearing people down through relentless requests.

Depending on your Business Chemistry type, some influence strategies may be more natural for you and some more of a stretch. While there is power in focusing on your strengths, there is also evidence that when it comes to influence, using more strategies is better, so it probably pays to work on adding some of the stretch strategies to your arsenal.1

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Going with the flow: Cascades can hinder team decision-making

My last post suggested that making decisions in diverse teams can help avoid decision-making traps, and there’s research evidence to support this view1. However, team decisions are often no better than individual decisions—and sometimes they’re even worse2. So what’s going on?

Essentially it has to do with the difference between having diversity on a team and managing the team environment and process in a way that enables the group to actually benefit from that diversity.

There are various mechanisms through which biases and poor decision-making can actually be heightened rather than diminished on a team, even a diverse one.

Continue reading “Going with the flow: Cascades can hinder team decision-making”