"If you don't have trust in team relationships you don't have anything," states Robb Holman, an internationally recognized leadership expert, speaker, executive coach, and best-selling author.
With his latest book release, All In: How Impactful Teams Build Trust from the Inside Out, Robb takes leaders on an inspirational journey through personal stories, practical concepts, and step-by-step lessons from his 22 years of entrepreneurial experience rallying teams toward a shared vision.
The bottom line: when trust is established, teams can thrive both personally and professionally.
Recently I sat down with Robb to learn more about the ideas shared in his new book. I was particularly interested in exploring the idea that honor builds trust. Here are excerpts from our conversation.
Marcel: Why is developing a culture of honor important in maximizing team performance?
[RH]: It helps build and foster trust. I believe that honor -- or holding one in high regard -- is a superpower when it comes to trust. Think about it this way. Have you ever been to a memorial service where people spoke poorly about a person -- no matter how many bad things he or she did while living? It made me wonder what would happen if we honored people consistently in the workplace in the same way we would at their memorial services.
As we look for ways to intentionally honor team members, it launches them into fulfilling their life purpose. This creates a bond of trust. The result is a happier work environment and superior performance.
What does honoring others have to do with personal leadership?
[RH]: As we honor people, we bring honor to ourselves. We tend to project how we view ourselves onto others. So in essence, the more we value and honor ourselves, the more we value and honor others. The mirror of the self and others is how inside out teams work. You've probably heard the saying, "You can only give what you got!" Well, another interesting way to put it is: The amount of honor we give to others is a direct indication of the amount we allow ourselves.
How does giving people what they don't deserve, develop a culture of honor?
[RH]: Sometimes giving people what they don't deserve helps them feel valued. If someone treats you kindly, your natural instinct is to return the kindness. If someone is nasty, it's easy to rationalize being nasty right back, isn't it? If a team member doesn't follow through with a deadline, we often jump to reprimanding them, either mentally or out loud.
I've learned that the secret of honor is to give people what they don't deserve. When we do, they are caught off guard in a really good way. It interrupts the norm for all the right reasons.
Could it be that when we give people what they don't deserve, it's a prime opportunity to reach them from the inside out? Quite possibly, we can reach them in a place they would never be reached otherwise.
I have found that one great way to honor a team member is by meeting a need. Has this been your experience?
[RH]: Yes, however, I like to give based on honor, not just need.
It doesn't take long to see the needs that exist all around us. The larger the need, the more it reveals an obvious opportunity to serve that team member. Typically, we serve by meeting a need through intentional time, resources, and/or expended energy.
But what about when there is not an obvious need? When we give to people based on who they are, not merely because they need something, it fuels a culture of honor. This inside out way of living with our team members builds trust simply by holding them in high regard.
What's one simple step that leaders can take to develop a culture of honor?
[RH]: Meet with team members to let them know you personally care.
Good organizations have a professional development track for their people. Great organizations have a personal development track that feeds into a professional track for their people.
Devote time monthly with each of your team members. There will be some temptation to discuss work-related issues. Resist the urge and, instead, spend time talking about life, what interests them, what are they passionate about, etc. Each time you meet with them, make it your mission to find out something new about them and share something new about you.