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Sunday, August 23, 2009

Can you trust your people too much?

Wow!?! That's a loaded question. How is it possible to trust someone too much?

I think we might be talking about a couple of different types of trust:
  • trust of intention
  • trust of work, product, or presentation

I've been blessed to work with a number of individuals whose intentions I'm confident are pure. They constantly do their best for the organization and its customers, for their bosses, and for their teams. I've had no trouble trusting their intentions whatsoever.

The thing is, I have high standards. So do all the groups I mentioned above. The question about trust comes into play when we combine high standards along with imperfect humans. I made the mistake, one time, of trusting the work of a professional on my team. The presentation was due to executives and, because I trusted the intentions of my team member, I also trusted the output. I found out later, from my boss, that the work was substandard. It was very embarrassing. I didn't let this mistake happen again.

My advice would be that you never completely accept your people's work without:

  • Thoroughly checking the output until you're confident of what your people produce.
  • Periodically check on the people you know will represent you, your boss, and your team well, just to ensure the quality has remained strong. People meet and exceed standards that they are measured against.

Do you think you can trust your people too much? Is there ever a time when checking is no longer necessary, even periodically?

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