When we launched the Stress Quotient last year to identify and measure stress at work, we learned that many people wrestle with trust issues on their teams.


Trust is like the oil that lubricates the moving parts of a machine. When trust is present on a team, wheels turn freely and gears mesh smoothly. When trust is lacking, wheels grind and gears clash.


So if the oil of trust is running low on your team, how do you top it up?

Start with Authenticity


In my work with executives and management teams, I have found personal authenticity to be a major trust-builder. Being authentic means that I am aware of and openly acknowledge both my strengths and my weaknesses. It means owning my mistakes and taking responsibility rather than shifting blame. I have been amazed at what people will forgive when someone openly acknowledges their part in the problem.


But how do you get to that level of authenticity if you are in an environment of low trust?


Readers of my blog know I am a fan of leadership author Patrick Lencioni. In his book The 5 Dysfunctions of a Team, he identifies “Lack of Trust” as the foundational dysfunction that leads to four other critical team failures. The first step he recommends to begin re-building trust is walking the team through a behavioral profile such as DISC.

How DISC Helps Build Trust


The kind of trust Lencioni advocates is called “vulnerability based trust.” The idea is that we counter our instinct to be guarded by purposefully sharing the real “us” behind the mask. It can be scary to take that kind of step in a low-trust environment, which is where DISC comes in.


The DISC profile puts every team member on a level playing field and gives them unbiased language to talk about who they are, their strengths and weaknesses, and their value to the team. Our founder, Norm Bobay, calls this process “taking off your mask.”


When I take off my mask and you take off yours, we have put the first plank on a new bridge of trust.


The DISC profile feels safe, because it does not evaluate any profile as good or bad. It’s not a test, it’s an insightful description of who you are and how you operate. Sharing insights from our DISC reports allows us to remove our masks in an environment of mutuality—we’re all doing this together. Step by step, we can move towards the kind of openness that creates trust and gives people the freedom to have more difficult conversations.


A Safer Way to Talk About Problem Behaviors


One reason we don’t trust our teammates is that we have been unsuccessful in talking to them about problem behaviors. Maybe you tried once and it didn’t go well. Or maybe you’ve just been afraid to bring it up. But after teams go through DISC together, I regularly hear them say that they were able to finally talk about behaviors that had been bothering them for a long time.


Sharing insights from your profile not only builds mutual understanding, it also opens the door for people to “call you out” in a less threatening way when that behavior pops up again. For example, once I’ve shared with people that I love starting things but struggle with follow through, it becomes okay for someone to bring up how that behavior creates a problem for them. I don’t feel personally attacked, and we can talk it through without starting a fight.


We have made that first step easy to take by giving you access to one complimentary DISC report. Try it for yourself to see how accurate and insightful it is. When you’re ready, give us a call to learn how you can use DISC to build a more trusting culture on your team.
hireMAX has developed expertise in distributing and applying assessments from multiple developers. The version of DISC we recommend has the highest accuracy rating in the industry. Because we represent more than one developer, we can customize solutions to your needs and always give you the tool that is right for your organization.
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This month only, we are offering a complimentary DISC assessment for readers of our newsletter and blog. Experience the accuracy and insights of DISC for yourself.


Get my free Team Building DISC report.



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Dr. Shero believes that leadership can be learned and that the best organizations intentionally develop leadership at every level. Leaders have the privilege of influencing other human lives for the better. That's why Phillip cares so much about learning to lead well and helping others do the same.

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