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Trust falls at work.

Updated: Jan 17, 2022

I was in a conversation at work this week and the issue of trust came up regarding a project and could we trust the person leading it to get done what we needed. And it made me think about summer camp, ages ago, when we had to do the trust fall activity. I am sure that many of you remember this, probably from middle school or high school time frame. It is the activity where people line up to catch a person who closes their eyes and falls backwards (in my experience, from a slightly elevated position), trusting that the group will catch them.

Being older and having perspective, it made me think about how everyone in that situation has to have trust, but the person taking the biggest risk has to both trust the group and trust themselves in order to have a successful trust fall. And, isn't that so true at work and in our professional lives?

If you are the business leader, you have to both trust the group and trust yourself in order to have a successful outcome. If you only trust yourself, you will alienate those on your team who also lead and contribute and you will miss the opportunity to create better results and outcomes because you will not listen or engage fully because you lack that trust. But, if you trust the group, and not yourself, you underestimate your own value, you hesitate in making the decisions a leader needs to make, and you become a self-fulfilling prophecy of an insecure and indecisive leader.

So, what does a successful trust fall at work look like? It is a work environment where mistakes and failure are part of the process, and giving up and quitting are not solutions. It is having the space to provide feedback, to be vulnerable and not allowing people to be shamed or ridiculed for their actions. It is being able to trust the people you work with, but also to trust yourself, even when you don't feel confident or lack evidence of success.

If you had to do a trust fall at work today, would you? If the answer is no, ask yourself why not. And ask yourself what would have to change to get you to a yes? If the answer is yes, what is the key to your success in creating an environment of trust?

I don't know about you, but I am going to ask myself this question today:

what if you embraced the fear and uncertainty and decided to go for it and do a trust fall? I am really curious to see what I learn!

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