By Allen Haynes April 3, 2024

Listen to the episode.

Andy Stanley: [00:00:00] Hey everybody. Welcome to the Andy Stanley leadership podcast, a conversation designed to help leaders go further, faster. I’m Andy Stanley and joining me to talk about what I always tell our new employees is the most important thing they can do to ensure the success of our organization is my smarter than I could ever hope to be co host.

Suzy Gray.

Suzy Gray: Well, that’s a nice intro, Andy. Maybe we should just end the podcast right there for my sake, but it would likely be beneficial to our listeners to keep going and start with the reveal. What is the most important thing employees can do to ensure the success of

Andy Stanley: the organization? The most important thing they can do to help us as an organization is choose to trust.

Whenever there’s a gap between what they expect and what they experience, to fill that gap with trust rather than suspicion. That makes all the difference in our culture. That makes all the difference in an organization. On the surface,

Suzy Gray: I [00:01:00] totally get it. But when I think of trust, it’s not just a warm and fuzzy concept.

It’s actually one of those things that can be a critical aspect of In fact, it’s an asset that can make or break a team or an organization. Um, and while the importance of it seems obvious in some ways, it feels intangible and you only really understand it.

Andy Stanley: When you lose it, that’s exactly right. Because we assume it, we assume that we assume that people trust us, whether we trust them or not, but we all know what it feels like to lose the trust of another person.

And it’s a, it’s a desperate feeling because once it’s gone, what do you do to get it back? So Bringing that into organizational life, it goes back to what I said earlier, and to just reframe it or to frame it again. We’re talking about the gap that’s created when I expect someone to do something, they don’t do what’s expected, and now I have to decide what to place in that gap.

I can either place trust or suspicion. And healthy organizations are filled with people who choose to believe [00:02:00] the best rather than assume the worst, and they fill that gap with trust. And one of the things we’re going to talk a little bit about, if there’s time, is there’s a sense in which when this happens, when somebody lets us down, when they don’t come through, or they don’t come through again, or they don’t follow through, whatever that looks like, the assumption is, I don’t have a choice.

All I can do is put suspicion in that gap. And that is absolutely not true. And the individual who’s mature enough to understand that, and then disciplines themself to fill that gap with trust, Things are just going to go better because so oftentimes, as we’re going to talk about, there is an explanation.

But if I immediately go to suspicion, if I immediately assume the worst, that begins to create something, not only in my relationship with that person, but in my relationship with people who have a relationship with that person, because that stuff gets telegraphed and you get enough of that going on in an organizational culture.

And you have problems. And again, as you just said, Susie, so, well, when it’s gone, that’s when we realize just how important it really is. It really is. Yeah.

Suzy Gray: Well, can you give [00:03:00] an example?

Andy Stanley: Yeah, um, let’s talk about an example with the two of us. How about that? Let’s do. So, and, and this, um, this is recent, so we’re just keeping it real.

Um, you’ve asked me at least, you may edit this out later, but I just, you, you set an example. You have asked me about, you’ve at least three times, probably in your mind a half dozen times, but in my mind it’s just three times. You’ve asked me to get back to you with some wordsmithing on a very important document that we’ve been working on, and I’ve not gotten back to you.

And I’ve said at least it’s true. It’s true. No, you’re supposed to say no Andy But it’s true And so I have left you expecting one thing, but i’ve done another so there’s a gap And i’ve even said do you know i’m working on i’m gonna get that to you and I still have not So now you have this dilemma, I’m putting you on the spot.

What, what do you place in that gap? Do I just assume the worst, Andy’s lazy, Andy doesn’t care, Andy doesn’t think this is important. I mean it goes on and on and on and on. Or do you [00:04:00] manufacture a, a more positive spin on this gap? So I thought I would just air our dirty laundry right here on the podcast to keep it real.

Anyway, um, my lack of follow through to, to reframe this creates a gap. Which unfairly, and this is. This is important, which unfairly puts the ball back into your court. Now, you have to decide what to put in that gap, even though I’ve created the gap. And again, there are basically two options. Trust, and he has a good explanation, or suspicion.

Andy’s irresponsible. He doesn’t think this is important, or he doesn’t think I’m important. So you asked for an example.

Suzy Gray: Yeah, we haven’t actually talked about this in person. So let’s talk about on the podcast. Okay.

Andy Stanley: Yeah, it’s safer.

Suzy Gray: It’s much safer. Well, I mean, first, are you speechless? I’m not. I’m not really speechless.

But, um, I mean, obviously we’ve worked together for almost 20 years. And so, Um, there’s a great deal of trust built up in that and there was, [00:05:00]

Andy Stanley: well, I actually, the bucket is leaking even as we speak. Go ahead. I’m sorry. I

Suzy Gray: also know enough about your calendar, uh, to know that you have a good explanation. So for sure, I choose trust.

Um, because we’re keeping it real. I think in this particular case, and she brought it up, Knowing whether you plan to look at it, because I do know how busy you are and I know what your calendar looks like, or whether I should move forward without your input would be the gift, which is why it’s on top of our one on one agenda.

For this week, but gaps like this happen all the time in organizational and for years you’ve challenged our organization to make good decisions when facing that gap. Talk a little

Andy Stanley: bit about that. Well, before we do, you just illustrated something very important that we’re going to get to later. is you just illustrated what it looks like to give someone a generous explanation.

So a generous explanation is, um, Andy has not done what I’ve asked Andy to do, but you know, he’s got a good reason. He’s busy, his [00:06:00] schedule, dah, So you, so far, so good, you have continued to fill the gap with a generous explanation. Well, this is what mature, healthy people do both at home, I mean, this works in family, this works in the community, but again, we’re talking about organizational life.

When an organization has people who have disciplined themselves, because it’s a discipline, have disciplined themselves to offer each other a healthy explanation, you are impacting, positively impacting, the culture. And we’re going to talk in a minute about how long do you let that go before you have a positive impact.

A difficult conversation, but if the go to and this is why when Billy Phoenix interviews me in front of our new staff, this is always the first question that he asked. I mentioned that at the top. He says, Andy, what’s the one thing you want to say to new employees? And I this is where I go. I say, I want to challenge you to offer each other a generous explanation in corporate life.

There are going to be situations. where people don’t come through, they don’t do what they say they’re going to do. And again, there’s the gap, but if you [00:07:00] will make it a habit, regardless of your personality or temperament, if you will make it a habit of offering a generous explanation, things will go better for you.

But, you know, since you’ve asked me, what can you do for the organization and things go better in the organization and everybody listening knows this. If you have a relationship with someone, And you trust them and they trust you and you fill the gap with trust. It’s just better. Even when, even if it leads to a difficult conversation, if the habit pattern and if the pattern has been trust, um, that ultimately puts positive pressure on the other person.

Again, an illustration, you just said in front of our whole podcast audience, you know, Andy’s busy. I’m giving Andy a generous explanation. And so when I hear that, how do I feel? How do I feel? motivated to be less responsible or more responsible. Now, you just put the ball back in my court. I put it in yours by not following through.

You put it back in mine by, Hey, I know you’re going to get to this. I trust you. [00:08:00] Wow. Now I’m feeling the weight of that. Well, that’s how healthy relationships stay healthy. So if that’s the habit, and if you have an organization of people who’ve made that a habit, You’ve just created currency in the organization, you’ve, everything gets easier, and we’re going to talk about some of those specifics in just a minute.

Suzy Gray: Well, and you also say that a good gut check for leaders is to ask yourself, is my leadership fostering an environment of trust or suspicion? And I think you have fostered an environment of trust. And so it’s easier. So it’s easier to fill the gap with trust. Yeah, exactly. Because that’s the

Andy Stanley: environment we work in.

Right. I don’t generally not follow through with what I say I’m going to do. Do I?

Suzy Gray: No, you don’t. You don’t. So why do you think our tendency, though, is to go negative and fill the gap

Andy Stanley: with suspicion? Several things. And keeping these front and center is so helpful, or at least I know it is for me. So number one.

The reason we go negative is we’re human, okay? Nothing we can do about that. So that’s number one. Number [00:09:00] two, though, and this is, this is important. Leaders who habitually assume the worst about others are often assuming about others what is secretly true of themselves. We all do this. We, we have a tendency to lay our personal motivations over other people.

We project. We project, and then we make excuses for our own inability or unwillingness. You know, leaders who do this, they know what’s behind their behavior and assume it then about everybody else. That goes back to self leadership. We have to start with the mirror. We talk about that all the time. We have to start with the mirror and ask the question, as you just said, am I projecting?

Um, am I actually assuming about someone else what is actually true of me? And when we stop to do that, it brings the temperature down a little bit in terms of the frustration that we want to bring into the conversation because you haven’t done what you said you’re A third reason is actually a cognitive bias.

I think we’ve talked about it before. Fundamental attribution error. This is when we assign other people’s behavior to their character and their [00:10:00] disposition. Um, things they can control while we let ourselves off the hook for similar behavior by taking circumstances into consideration. So, for example, I’m late.

Well, it’s traffic. You’re late because you’re disorganized, right? I have a tendency. So, again, that’s another reason that we get in trouble with this. A fourth reason. And this is, uh, you know, this is very personal, I think some people or leaders go negative quickly or assume the worst or fill the gap with suspicion because of their own past experience, specifically fears or insecurities that are rooted in their past experience.

On occasion, it’s no deeper than a situation with a difficult employee. Or a manager at another organization. I mean, something similar happens in another work environment. And then it happens again in a new work environment, and we just go there. You’re triggered. Right, so here we go again. Yep. So we click into suspicion mode based on what happened in some other environment with different people that may have nothing to do with the [00:11:00] current environment, but we go there.

Anyone who’s actually, been fired several times will have a tendency to inaccurately read between the lines. Well, of course we would write because we’re, we’re sensitive. Um, anyone who’s had an employee steal from them will as well. So an employer who’s been taken advantage of multiple times, anything that, you know, is a hint of that, they just, here we go again, here we go again.

So of course we would. But oftentimes, Susie, it’s deeper than that. It’s related to an insecurity that’s related to a wound or maybe a fear that’s not so much work related, but is relationship related. Um, someone you work for maybe reminds you of an ex husband or an ex wife or, uh, your dishonest brother in law or your sister or a parent, you know, they just remind you of someone because of their temperament, their personality, maybe even the way they carry themselves.

And so You’re suspicious even before they create a reason to be suspicious. So, thing is, we [00:12:00] all bring all of this to work. We don’t leave those things in their proper categories. You know, it’s impossible to do that. But regardless of the source, the results are similar. Hurts relationships, it hurts the culture.

And again, we telegraph this stuff. I mean, I think everybody listening, Knows the people they work with who don’t particularly like them. Right? Yeah. And it’s not because they’ve ever said anything overtly, but you can just kind of tell. You can feel it. Yeah. Because these things get telegraphed. So, if there’s someone that you don’t trust because you put, you know, suspicion in the gap, they may know more about how you feel toward them than you think they do.

Because these things, um, telegraph. So, and again, here’s why this is so important. Yeah. And this goes back to something I said earlier. This response that we have when, again, people don’t follow through or they don’t come through, our initial response is emotional. And that deceives us into thinking that our response is out [00:13:00] of our control.

In fact, emotions always do that. We, as soon as we feel something strongly, we think, oh, I’m I don’t have any choice but to go along with that flow. Exactly, but that is a lie. We always have a choice. We can choose not to be suspicious. We can choose to trust. Again, it’s a discipline. It’s self control. It’s evidence of maturity.

And we generally win, and the relationship generally wins if we will opt to trust.

Suzy Gray: But I’ve heard you say that this distrust actually can be contagious and actually almost infect an organization.

Andy Stanley: Absolutely. And again, this is why it’s so detrimental to organizational culture. It’s why when Billy says, Andy, what’s the one thing you would ask a new employee to do or what’s the one thing they can do to make the biggest difference?

This is where I go. I go, trust. If you will make it a habit to choose to trust, even when it’s difficult to trust, because I know distrust or mistrust is, in fact, contagious, and it’s self fulfilling. Yeah. If you don’t trust [00:14:00] someone long enough, even if they’re trustworthy, eventually, They will do something that feeds that suspicion, and then we all begin to connect dots that don’t really connect.

You go, aha, there it is. There it is. I’ve been looking. Waiting to see that. Waiting to see that. I knew it was there. Yep. And then there’s this. Distrust or mistrust is actually, um, self fulfilling. And here’s why. When we think someone suspects us for something, what happens? We become more cautious. We are less open about our mistakes.

We’re slower to admit and own them. Which, again, looks suspicious and confirms their suspicion. There it is. Um, then add to that that the untrusting boss or manager is often themselves not a trustworthy person. And eventually you have a culture of secrecy which eventually forces everybody in the organization to be less forthcoming with their mistakes.

And, you know, it’s just not healthy. Yeah, and who

Suzy Gray: wants to be part of

Andy Stanley: that kind of culture? Well, actually, I haven’t answered that question. Unhealthy people. I mean, unhealth attracts unhealth. [00:15:00] Honestly, there are people who thrive, or think they thrive, or I should say they are more comfortable in an environment like that than in a healthy environment.

And we’ve seen that here. Every once in a while, we don’t hire well. And somebody is not so mature, not so healthy, and they don’t last long. Stick out. They stick out because we’ve worked so hard, I think, to create a, a healthy, trusting environment.

Suzy Gray: Well, and that’s really why you have to choose trust. And some real benefits happen when you extend trust to those around you, right?

Andy Stanley: Yeah, I mean, trust, and you kind of talked about this at the top, trust actually breathes life. into an organization. Same with a marriage. Same with a relationship with one of your, one of your children. In fact, if you have a middle schooler or a high schooler, isn’t it true you just want them to, if you would just trust me, right?

And don’t we say that? If you would just trust me, like, if I say it enough, you’re, they’re gonna, Trust me, because as long as they don’t, the relationship just doesn’t have the life that it [00:16:00] could. So again, trust breathes life into an organization, and I’ll tell you where you feel this the most. It breathes life primarily in the areas of innovation, experimentation, and creativity.

Because all of those involve some short term failure. Yeah. Right? Yep. And if there’s not room to fail because of a fear of what’s going to happen, because people lose confidence in me or lose trust in me, and then people just don’t experiment. The whole idea of making anything better, they’re going to let somebody else work on that.

It’s too risky. Right. Um, if people aren’t free to fail, you never get their best. If people aren’t free to fail, You never get their best. And in order for them to be free to fail, there has to be a culture of trust. Related, um, suspicion kills dreams. I think it motivates the best and brightest to keep their dreams, in some cases their best ideas, to themselves.

Which again, robs the organization of maximizing human capital. So, It’s a much bigger deal, as you said up front, it feels kind of soft and squishy, [00:17:00] but it is so fundamental to a healthy, productive culture. You

Suzy Gray: know, thinking back over my career, I’ve been fortunate throughout. my entire career, whether in telecommunications or in the nonprofit sector to work for organizations that have allowed me to color outside of the lines, um, and do things differently and find out like how solutions to a given problem and opportunity can be approached in a different way.

And I’m not sure, you know, without you just saying that, that I would have tied that to trust in each case, but now I can see that freedom to fail is a sign of trust because I, I’m not a kind of gal. And so the ability to kind of Let’s try new things. Let’s do something different. Let’s, you know, let’s do something.

The fact that I’m allowed to do it and potentially fail is a very trusting posture for the organization to take. But

Andy Stanley: it motivated you to give the organization your good ideas, your best ideas, your best energy. Yeah, very

Suzy Gray: true. Very true. So, man, I can definitely

Andy Stanley: see how. Let me ask you this. So, [00:18:00] within the context of those, you know, Did it make it easy for you or easier for you, or maybe this is irrelevant, for you then to trust the people that reported to you in the same capacity?

I mean, I think part of it, your personality, you’re a very, you know, the glass is half full, it’s three quarters full, it’s just full. Overflowing. It’s overflowing. That’s your personality, so it’s probably easier for you a little bit than it is for somebody like me. to just go there in terms of full on trust.

Do you have any thoughts around that? Yeah, I mean, I

Suzy Gray: do feel like when I’ve been trusted to do something that’s new and innovative, it allows me to give that gift to my team to enact what I’ve just been trusted to do. Yep. So, I do think it, it makes you want to pay it forward, um, in a way that’s very healthy.

And it allows you to be kind and gentle with them if there’s failure because you’ve had the same extended to you. So yeah, I definitely

Andy Stanley: can see that. So, turning this around a little bit. So based on that, what would you say to the micromanagers who are [00:19:00] listening to this? First of all, they don’t know they are.

Somebody’s tried to tell them, but they’re like, I’m not a micromanager. I’m just careful. I’m cautious. But the people who work for you, they’re like, No, I feel like you’re always standing over my shoulder. So, because what you said is so Waiting for you to mess up. Waiting for you to mess up or not do it the way I would do it or do it as well as I would do it or approach it, you know, all those things.

What would you say to them because you just gave them a clue as to how their temperament or personality, which isn’t going to change, their temperament or personality is potentially going to undermine their own success. Talk to them for a minute. If you

Suzy Gray: are concerned that if any change, there’s going to be potential failure, you’re more of a glass half empty.

I’ve heard people say glass half empty is more realists. Um, and that’s a, that’s definitely a way of looking at the world of, hey, I’m just being real. There’s too high a chance of failure. But the challenge is when you feel that way and you project that on the people that you [00:20:00] work with or that work for you or you work for, then you’ve just stifled all innovation and all of the ability to dream.

Because then it’s like, well, why bother? Because you’re just going to pooh pooh the idea and say that it’s not worth it. And so I would just say. Gosh, maybe allow people to have the freedom in certain areas, at least to start to dream a little bit, to try something new, to take a risk and, and take a step back and say it’s okay.

Yes, there’s a real possibility this could fail, but that’s okay and we’re going to plan for that. Yeah.

Andy Stanley: Fear of failure is not a winning strategy, right? It’s not going to get will be on defense and you can’t win just a plain defense. Very much so. I’ve been told. That was my sports analogy for the next.

Ten years. Ten years. Yeah. I don’t even know if it was a sports analogy. Anyway.

Suzy Gray: So, this all feels very intuitive to what we just talked about, but in a lot of ways, trust actually fuels productivity.

Andy Stanley: Yeah. In fact, and a lack of trust stalls productivity, [00:21:00] slows it down. Managers become production lids because people are afraid of going too fast or not keeping someone informed.

And, uh, trust communicates as your leader. I think you are smart enough to know how to do the job that you were hired to do. And if you ever get stuck, I believe that you’ll ask me for help. Now, get out there and, you know, get it done. And I also believe, here’s the other important message of trust. The other message of trust is this.

I’m trusting that if you screw up, which all of us do from time to time, I’m trusting that you’re going to be okay. I trust that you’re going to tell me, or you’re going to tell whoever needs to know, and you’re going to tell whoever needs to know before anybody knows and before anybody has to ask you.

And that is so important. And I think in the past we’ve talked about some illustrations around here where people came to me, um, and told me they screwed up and if they hadn’t told me, I’m not sure I would have known. You would have known. Yeah. This past weekend, one of our primary communicators. texted me Sunday afternoon and said Andy, I just want you to know I [00:22:00] misquoted you today.

Do you know what I’m talking about? Do you know what you’re talking about? Well, I still don’t know. I didn’t even ask him, and I haven’t even checked. I feel like I don’t need to. He let me know he misquoted me, and I’m like, again, what does that say? If it comes

Suzy Gray: up, you go, I know,

Andy Stanley: if somebody else brings it up.

Exactly. And I don’t mentally put that in the file, oh, I need to check on this guy. I don’t need to check on him, because I know if he messes up. He’s going to let me know. Well, that’s an ex, that’s an extraordinarily healthy relational dynamic and organizational dynamic because we are going to mess up. So the goal isn’t perfection.

The goal is to be trustworthy and imperfect people can be trustworthy. And

Suzy Gray: when you feel you’re trusted. You actually feel worthy to do the work that you’re there to do. Which I think is just so important. Much

Andy Stanley: more liberating.

Suzy Gray: Yes. So you mentioned two ways that trust benefits an organization, fostering innovation and fueling productivity.

What’s another

Andy Stanley: benefit? We touched on this a little bit as well. [00:23:00] Trust or a culture of trust fuels information sharing, which makes an organization way more nimble, right? I mean, it makes it more nimble, better informed, which means better decisions and faster decisions. A trust, a culture of trust means that information doesn’t have to follow the path created by the org chart.

And again, this is industry specific or company specific, but I love the fact that in our organization, Information doesn’t have to follow the org chart. It doesn’t need to go through him before it gets to her before it gets to him. It’s like, no, just. Tell the people that need to know, and if somebody that should have been in the loop wasn’t in the loop, if they trust you, it’s like oh, they just didn’t get around to telling me, or they didn’t think I needed to know, or they were trying to make a quick decision.

But rather than spending our energy trying to demolish these natural affiliations, which honestly aren’t going to go away, and I’ve read articles like you have that talk about how to get rid of silos. And then I go, that’s great. And then I go back to my silo, you know, you, you’re going to have a group of

Suzy Gray: people, organizational conspires against that.

Yeah. Organizational

Andy Stanley: life. [00:24:00] Yeah. So the beauty of trust is even with certain silos in place that are going to have to be in place and they’re just not going to go away, we can have team sports and all those things. Trust. is really the thing that connects the silos in an effective way. It allows people to do what they need to do, stay in their lane, but get the information they need to get and pass along the information that needs to be passed along.

Or to put it another way, why bother haggling with structures that aren’t going to change when we can just build a bridge and trust is the bridge. When there’s a high degree of trust at play in an organization and everybody’s then choosing to believe the best about the people on their team and the people on the other teams and the other silos.

Communication flows naturally and freely. Organizational levels and titles become less consequential. Organizations feel like community. People feel, and this is so important, we’ve talked about this, people actually feel the interdependency that’s already there. I mean, [00:25:00] in a healthy, well run organization, there is interdependency, but we don’t always feel it.

So, we’ve

Suzy Gray: got innovation, productivity, better communication. I don’t even know if we need another reason, but there actually is a final benefit to this approach of trust, isn’t there? Yes.

Andy Stanley: And this one is a bit negative. A culture of trust exposes the un trust. Trustworthy people. This is a little bit counterintuitive, but the best way to find out whether or not somebody is trustworthy is to trust them.

In fact, that’s the only way. Yeah. This is, this is the downside of being a micromanager. If you don’t trust people, you don’t know if they’re trustworthy. You don’t get the best out of them. We already talked about that. So one of the advantages of a culture characterized by trust is the untrustworthy people out themselves pretty quickly.

And then you [00:26:00] appropriately move them out of.

Suzy Gray: Yeah, and I think that is a big benefit. It creates an obvious gap when someone is not trustworthy, that everybody sees and it’s like, okay, that person isn’t moving in the same direction we are, which can be a very big gift. So that all sounds great, but is there a point at which you change what you fill the gap with?

In other words, is it ever appropriate? to confront instead of continuing to trust and continuing to be

Andy Stanley: disappointed. This is the challenge. Um, when someone continues to create a gap between what’s expected and what we’ve experienced, especially if it’s the same gap. Over and over. Of course, there has to be a conversation, but to be clear, and this is where it’s easy to mess this up.

The conversation itself is an expression of trust. Because you trust the person, and you can have the conversation. Exactly. The reason I’m confronting you instead of talking about you, the reason I’m coming directly to you, is because I trust you, and I’m going to come into this conversation assuming that There is a [00:27:00] good explanation.

I am not going to come into this conversation assuming there’s not a good explanation Which means for people like me not you because you’re half full people like me I have to sit in the office for a few minutes by myself and convince myself. Okay There is a good explanation, and I’m going to go into this conversation still assuming the best, even though the lack of performance or the continued gap is requiring a conversation.

So, again, the assumption going in should be there is a good reason for this disruptive pattern, because if there is, Then you have actually built more trust by assuming there is, and again, we telegraph what’s in our hearts in these conversations. So I need to go into this conversation, assuming the best, find out what this good reason is that I haven’t been able to come up with without the conversation, and then ask the question, hey, how, how can I help?

So the conversation goes something like this. Hey, I trust there’s a good reason for this [00:28:00] gap. Hey, what’s going on? And is there something I can do? To help and their response will be the telltale sign definitely, right? I mean if they’re defensive that tells you one thing Um, if you sense that they’re disappointed in themselves because they’ve disappointed you That’s something else.

That’s another kind of conversation. In fact, that kind of conversation creates a potential reset. And to be clear, this isn’t the quarterly one on one. In fact, one of the mistakes is to wait until the scheduled appointment rolls around to confront a person about the gap. The one on ones, that shouldn’t be the gap conversation.

The gap conversation is Hey, this has happened three times. I can’t wait because this is beginning to erode my trust in you and I don’t want it to be eroded. So let’s have the conversation. So you don’t wait. You initiate. And, um, again, this is as much personal as it is corporate. I have to come directly to you and tell you what I see and get your side of the story.

[00:29:00] Not the story I suspect is happening, but you know, tell me what’s actually happening. And oftentimes, at least in my experience, what I assume is a human failure. Sometimes there are failures in our systems. If I assume that you’re the problem without asking, then I could actually damage our team if, in fact, the issue was something other than you.

Because, again, we’ve talked about this. Systems create behaviors. Systems create behaviors. So, I may be looking at a gap that isn’t really 100 percent You related. You related, exactly. Right. There’s something in the organization that’s impeding You doing what I’ve asked you to do, but in your kindness to me, right, or you can’t get on my schedule, you’re having to wait something out that you have no control over.

Well, I need to know that. Now it’s back in my court, but we need to address the system. And then there’s this. In some instances, and I am so guilty of this, there may be a gap between what I expected and what I experienced. And the other person isn’t even aware there’s a gap because [00:30:00] I haven’t made my expectations clear.

Again, I say that because I’m guilty that, so you sit down with the person and you say, why hasn’t this happened? And they look at you like, I didn’t even know that was supposed to happen. I didn’t even, I didn’t even know you were waiting on that. I don’t remember you even asking me to do that. And it’s like, Oh, yeah.

So, but again, at the same time, if I continue to fill the gap with trust, even those kinds of issues when they come up, we can manage those well. And then I have to own the fact that, hey, I, I’m the one who created the gap. Let’s move forward. I’ll try to do better. The takeaway is we maintain trust until we just can’t trust anymore.

And when we have to have that conversation, even going into those conversations, we’re still trying to create a culture and protect the culture of trust.

Suzy Gray: So good. So as we wrap up today, I have heard you challenge leaders to make four commitments. to their direct report. So why don’t you share those four commitments with our listeners as

Andy Stanley: we wrap up today?

Yeah. And when I teach this to our staff, this is, [00:31:00] this is how I wrap up. I say, I’m going to ask you to make these four commitments to the people that you work with. Number one, when there is a gap between what I expect and what I experienced, I will choose to believe the best. I’m, I’m, I’m committing to that even before it happens.

Number two, when other people assume the worst about you, I’m coming to your defense. When other people are talking about you, I just want you to know I’m coming. to your defense. I’m going to say something like, Hey, you know what? There’s probably a good reason for that. Yeah. And again, imagine working in a culture where everybody has everybody’s back.

It’s just better, right? Number three, commitment number three is this. If what I experienced begins to erode my trust, I will come directly to you to resolve the problem. If what I experienced begins to erode my trust. In other words, Oh no, I’m beginning to harbor suspicion about this person. I am coming directly to you.

The point being, I don’t want anybody on my team to fear the consequences of a meeting I have with somebody else about them until I’ve [00:32:00] first gone directly to them to discuss the matter. I’ve learned this the hard way through the years. There’s something, um, very, very important. healthy and encouraging to the other person when I can say to them, I’ve not mentioned this to anybody else.

I’ve not deal. It is such a gift because when I’m able to say that it does something relationally, I’ve come directly to you. And when we don’t say that, I mean, put yourself in that person’s position when, when you come to me to confront me about something, um, One of my thoughts while you’re talking to me is who else has she talked to, right?

So, when you can go say, hey, I’ve not talked about this with anyone else, that, that’s such a gift. Number four, fourth commitment. When I realize that I will not be able to deliver on a promise to you, I will inform you ahead of time. No hiding and no hoping you don’t find out. In other words, I’m going to do for you what I’m asking you to do for me.

So those are the four commitments.

Suzy Gray: Those are so great and challenging commitments. [00:33:00] Well, Andy, that is all the time we have. Thanks for taking the time to discuss this important topic and thank you to our listeners. Be sure to visit the andystanley. com website where you can download the leadership podcast application guide that includes a summary of our discussion plus questions for reflection.

Or group discussion and join us next week for our reverb episode where Andy and I are going to dig even deeper on this topic of trust right here on the Andy Stanley leadership podcast.

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