The Key to a Successful Salary Increase Conversation

Salary adjustments.  Merit increases.  Annual salary reviews.

Call them whatever you want, this simple fact remains:  the process of reviewing and adjusting salaries for employees is a stressful one.  So much anxiety, tension and trepidation.

Many companies are focused on a standard process, a fair review that incorporates performance and potential, and hitting “the number” just right, to compensate employees according to the factors important to the company.  As a matter of fact, many companies do this very, very well.

Why is this, exactly?  Why does it almost never go well?

During my recent reading about Customer Experience, Employee Experience and how important Employee Expectations are in both of those equations, I had an epiphany.

I think I have discovered the key ingredient:  expectations.

Think of it this way – the success of a salary increase conversation hinges not on whether the process was fair or equitable.  It hinges on whether the employee thinks it is fair.  That is a fairly small, but at the same time HUGE difference.  Let that sink in for a minute…

It hinges on whether the employee thinks it is fair.


What am I saying, exactly?  Am I saying that the only successful salary increase conversation is one that the employee dictates entirely, and basically chooses what his/her increase will be?  Nope.  Not at all.

I’m saying this – understanding what your employee expects going into the entire process will help you understand their mindset coming in, and allow you to have multiple productive conversations to arrive at a point where trust is present, and the ultimate decision (even one that you may not have agreed with, or approved of) can be successful.

Here are a few tips on how to do that:

  1. Build trust first.  It starts early on in the relationship and needs to be sustained over time.  Trust matters.  Seeds of successful salary conversations are planted months before the actual salary conversation.
  2. Hold regular 1:1 conversations.  Become comfortable talking with each other about work topics, and “how do you feel about ______”.
  3. Introduce the topic frequently enough to make it a comfortable conversation.  In these private 1:1 conversations, talk openly about salary & compensation.  This will allow future conversations about compensation to happen much more easily.  #practicemakesperfect

Note:  countless managers talk about compensation/pay once per year (at salary adjustment time) and are shocked when it doesn’t go well… OF COURSE IT WON’T GO WELL!!! 

It takes effort and practice!

Now, I understand it’s never this simple.  There are so many complex factors and variables in each individual circumstance that it would be impossible to prescribe one “best practice”.  But start with building trust over time, and understanding expectations, and you will feel better prepared during the entire process.

(“What’s next?” after you understand their expectations is a future post… please share any thoughts/comments/questions below!)


Eyes Wide Open Trust – the power of effective boundaries

(Guest Author Richard Fagerlin for Real. Simple. Leadership)

Trust must be given, not earned, but I’m not advocating blind trust.

My wife and I have four boys: Christian, Preston, Jackson, and Lincoln. When they were little, the street in front of our house was completely off-limits. The risk was too great. But if they were still afraid to cross the street as thirteen-year-olds, or twenty-year-olds, we’d have a problem. I want my boys to wisely take risks that are worth taking, and to not live in fear. But I don’t want them to walk across the street with their eyes closed. I want them to have their eyes wide open and look both ways. And then to walk forward.

In the same way, I’m not asking you to plunge ahead foolishly, but to make a mature, calculated, thoughtful decision to trust because you’ve decided the benefits outweigh the risks.

By all means, be aware of red flags when you sense that someone isn’t trustworthy–they don’t necessarily mean that there’s no way forward, but you should ask where they are coming from, take more careful steps, and set appropriate boundaries.

Not blind trust. Eyes-wide-open trust.

Have you ever known anyone who seemed to think that trust was a sign of weakness, and that putting themselves in a vulnerable position would make them needy? The truth is entirely the opposite.

The decision to trust is a profoundly free act.

Only a confident, secure, courageous person can choose to trust.

Far from being a sign of weakness, mature vulnerability can only come from a place of strength.

For those situations when it doesn’t seem reasonable to give trust or where there are areas of concern with other parties involved in your relationship, you can approach the situation with your eyes wide open.

  1. Determine what is not safe

If you find yourself in a situation where giving trust or entering into the relationship is questionable, determine what it is that makes it questionable. Get to the root and give it a name. Is there question with integrity, are there illegal activities, does violence or harm concern you? If you can pinpoint the area(s) of question, you will be better able to create the boundaries and plan going forward.

  1. Determine what is safe

What is the good or the safe part of the relationship? Just like you determined what is not safe, do the same for what actually is good. Is the integrity of the individual good? Are they fully competent? Do they have a good heart and a strong desire to do what is right? Whatever it is, focus on it and draw attention to the good.

  1. Create clear (but few) boundaries

Boundaries don’t keep you from playing the game (link to past post), they allow you to play the game. Creating boundaries is not easy but sometimes it is critical. Determine the few boundaries that will make the relationship safe and use them for managing the relationship. If you are in a position of authority, your boundaries may look very different from when you are not. If someone is verbally abusive, the boundary might be that you won’t accept the verbal abuse and when they do, you simply walk away. If someone fails to meet deadlines time after time, you may ask them to report on progress of their projects at various milestones along the way.

  1. Take a step

You will never get closer to someone if you don’t take a step towards them. Hoping and wanting doesn’t decrease the distance between you and another person. You must decide (you want high trust) and then do (take a trust step towards them).

In case you think that I can’t identify with the difficulty of boundaries, let me share a story from my personal life. In the post The Big Lie About Trust I promised I would address the crazies in your life. Many years ago we were friends with a couple and there were some areas of concern with the past of one of them. We were close and hoped for a life-long relationship with them. The concerns we had weren’t just questions or speculation – they were well founded and also shared by some of their own family members, several of their close friends and even the court of law had ruled and delivered a permanent restraining order to this individual. Without going into specifics, these areas of concern caused us to not feel comfortable leaving our children alone with them. The information that we had learned and our concerns alone didn’t make them bad people and we actually never thought badly about the individual. We just had discernment that it wouldn’t be wise or safe to allow our kids to be alone with them.

It is possible to love, respect and care for someone AND not allow your kids to be alone. The boundary that we created was that as long as I was there, the kids could be there. If I wasn’t there, it wasn’t OK. We didn’t expect them to do bad things or cause harm, we just weren’t willing to take the risk.

In this environment, we determined the boundaries and then within those boundaries, we could have a full relationship. These boundaries weren’t created to prohibit our relationship, they were actually created so we could have a relationship.

I wish I could report that this relationship is thriving and healthy. The fact is, about 6 years into our relationship using these boundaries, they felt hurt and angered and didn’t see the boundaries as protective, but rather as damning. They have chosen to not be in relationship with us and in the end, we both lose because of this.

Don’t go blindly into relationships. Don’t close your eyes and walk unaware into situations but also, don’t cripple yourself with doubt and fear. Walk into the relationship, look both ways and take steps forward with confidence.

Lead Well, Lead Often and LEAD STRONG!

richard-fagerlinRichard Fagerlin is the founder and president of Peak Solutions.

With over 20 years of leadership and organizational development experience, he is a sought-after speaker, consultant and facilitator. Richard travels internationally helping clients intentionally create a culture of high trust and to be on purpose with developing leaders at all levels of the organization. In 2015 & 2016 Richard was named one of the top 100 thought leaders on Trust in the world.

A Colorado native, Richard enjoys the beautiful Rocky Mountains with his wife and four boys. His favorite team is whichever one his four boys are currently playing on. He is active in his community while serving on the board of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and Mill City Church.

(Scott’s addition: Richard is also the author of a really good book, “Trustology: The art and science of leading high-trust teams”.  It’s one of my personal favorites.  Learn more at

Twitter:  @richardfagerlin   •   LinkedIn:

12 Practical Steps to Leading with High Trust

(Guest Author Richard Fagerlin for Real. Simple. Leadership)

We’ve talked about how high-trust relationships start with you, the person who wants high trust, giving trust to another person without knowing whether you’ll get anything in return. But what does it look like on a practical level to communicate trust?

People will believe that you trust them when you take time to know them personally, you respect them, and you let them have influence. Below are some practical ways you can show trust to individuals and create a larger team culture of trust.

Listen, Learn, and Like. It goes a long way with people when you sincerely listen to them with the intent to learn. If you want to give trust, show interest. Find out where they’re coming from, especially when you disagree. This communicates that you assume they’re a reasonable, well-intentioned person. Find something you like about them. You don’t have to become best friends, but it should be your goal to like them.

Relentlessly pursue their strengths. Figure out what they are good at and what comes easily for them, and draw that out. Draw attention to it. Give them opportunities to shine. The more they work in their strengths, the more value they add to the team and the more they value their work.

Create an Individual Development Plan (IDP) with goals and commitments from the employee and from their boss. Create a game plan for growing, learning, and adding more value.

Share your leadership responsibilities. Give your team members assignments to lead certain aspects of your team. Let them run meetings, plan events, coordinate customer site visits, or participate in the planning and budgeting process. Let go of the reigns a bit and give them some freedom.

Get over yourself. Let’s be honest. One of the key reasons why you may not like relinquishing control to someone else is that you believe you are better, smarter, or more qualified than they are. Stop that. How did you get where you are?  Likely by someone better, smarter, and more qualified getting out of your way.

Allow growth and expect failures.  Not everyone succeeds on the first try and nobody succeeds always. Be willing to push people to grow, and in doing so, expect failure. Celebrate it. Failure is education, and if we don’t fail we won’t learn. As Henry Ford said, those who never make mistakes work for those who do.

Expose them to the larger process. I intentionally introduce my boys to people and concepts that are above their current level of life. They might not understand a conversation about balancing a checkbook, but they’re seeing what it means to be an adult. The same holds true in business. Exposing your team members to decision makers, stakeholders, clients, macro-level discussions, and other aspects of your organization that are above their current job description communicates that you trust them, you expect them to advance, and you’re invested in their future.

Ask your team for ideas. Hold innovation bursts where you brainstorm ideas for improvements, find opportunities for efficiencies, create new ideas, and improve old ones. Collect these ideas and implement something. If you can’t implement something, let them know, but if you can, do!

Get good at defining projects. Give your team projects with defined time frames and goals, make sure they have the resources they need, and then set them loose. Let them know what you desire as an outcome, but let them figure out how to get there. This allows you to give more freedom and them to take initiative, while minimizing frustration for all involved.

Work when and where it makes sense. Not everyone can or should work from home (or at the lake, or in the evening, or from a coffee shop). But when it makes sense, allow flexibility in how your team gets their work done. Trust them to manage their results.

Look for opportunities to say yes. Instead of saying no to your team’s unusual requests, instead think, “what needs to happen so I can say yes?”

Support their passions. If you support volunteerism and corporate giving, come alongside your team members and allow them to direct where you give. Let them volunteer for a cause they care about, or provide some level of match to their existing giving.

Lead Well, Lead Often and LEAD STRONG!

richard-fagerlinRichard Fagerlin is the founder and president of Peak Solutions.

With over 20 years of leadership and organizational development experience, he is a sought-after speaker, consultant and facilitator. Richard travels internationally helping clients intentionally create a culture of high trust and to be on purpose with developing leaders at all levels of the organization. In 2015 & 2016 Richard was named one of the top 100 thought leaders on Trust in the world.

A Colorado native, Richard enjoys the beautiful Rocky Mountains with his wife and four boys. His favorite team is whichever one his four boys are currently playing on. He is active in his community while serving on the board of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and Mill City Church.

(Scott’s addition: Richard is also the author of a really good book, “Trustology: The art and science of leading high-trust teams”.  It’s one of my personal favorites.  Learn more at

Twitter:  @richardfagerlin   •   LinkedIn:


Beware of the ‘Friend Zone’ with your employees…

I think we have all worked with, or around, a boss who is waaaaay to impersonal, right?  Like, he/she doesn’t really take time to connect on a personal level, is always way too busy, and just doesn’t really seem to care, right?  It is a pretty common occurrence, unfortunately.

Many who have been in that position swear that, when given a shot at leadership, they will be the exact opposite of that person.  He swears he will be a personable, attentive, loving boss that always cares about his employees, much like a best friend would.  He remembers this commitment so fiercely, they are really quite committed to it.  Sounds good, right?

Well…  there’s a downside.  A serious downside, if you let that pendulum swing too far the other way.

You see, a boss who is too cold, and impersonal, and detached can fail to build trust and thus not lead effectively.  But a boss who goes too far in trying to build trust can actually damage his/her own reputation and trust with others by entering the “friend zone”.

I think of it like this:


The danger zone on the left side is obvious – that’s the one we see frequently and try to correct.  The danger zone on the right side (what I will call the “friend zone”) is much less obvious, but in some ways almost equally as dangerous.

Imagine you are a boss, who in an effort to build camaraderie and trust (in addition to satisfying your own desire for something ‘social’ at work, to create a fun work environment) goes to lunch, hangs out after hours, invites others on some weekend activities like concerts, sporting events or other non-work activities.  Harmless enough, right?  Well, let’s step back and take a look… Continue reading

Play the Odds – 5 strategies for overcoming your fear of trust

(Guest Author Richard Fagerlin for Real. Simple. Leadership)

Let’s address this difficult situation of people that will likely take advantage of you if you are willing to give trust. So let’s play the odds.

Even though trust is not safe it can still be a wise investment. The question is, do the rewards outweigh the risks?

Everyone will eventually disappoint you in small ways. (And guess what? You’ll disappoint them, too.) A few people may betray you outright. But consider for a moment how many people we’re really talking about. How many people, of all those in your life, are really going to take advantage of you if you offer trust before it is earned? Twenty percent? Ten? Two? I guess that, on average, the number is closer to two percent than it is to twenty. Yes, a few people may abuse your trust. But do you want to live and act for the two percent, or the ninety-eight percent?scale

Imagine a weights and measures scale. Put the risk of the two percent on one side, and the
benefit of a trusting, generous relationship with the ninety-eight percent on the other.

Which is heavier?

A Disclaimer

I know many of you are sitting there thinking of all the situations where giving unearned trust doesn’t make sense. Keep two things in mind:

First, I’m assuming the relationships in question are ones where you actually want to win, where you have a vested interest in the relationship being the best it can be, and where collaboration is critical. If that’s the case, let’s apply these ideas. If not, you don’t need to invest time or energy into building trust.

Second, I am not speaking to the extremes. If you have experienced a betrayal of trust amounting to psychological or physical abuse, address it appropriately. Ask a friend for help, get a counselor, talk to a mentor, or read one of the many great books out there that address healing and boundaries on a personal level.

But most of life should not be a crisis. I want to speak to the rest of the time, to normal person-to-person interactions.

If you are struggling with the idea of giving trust – consider the following 5 strategies: Continue reading

Quit Your Job… You Are Not the Trust Ref

(Guest Author Richard Fagerlin written for Real. Simple. Leadership.)

If trust isn’t something that is earned (see past post here), then how do we approach relationships so we don’t get hurt, abused, or simply taken advantage of? This is the question that most often comes with the exposure of the big lie. Also, you may be thinking of 3 or 30 people that you think — no you know — would take advantage of you if you simply gave them your trust.

Let me address that but not yet… (this is for the next post)

Since we can’t keep score, it’s time to submit your resignation letter as Trust Referee of your relationships. Time to stop keeping tabs of who is ahead and who is behind. If you are like me, this won’t be easy. I trust ref my friends, I trust ref my colleagues, and I even trust ref my wife. I love my wife very much. We have been married for more than 17 years, we have four wonderful children together, and are truly best friends. But I still struggle with the mind-shift of not keeping score on a daily basis.

I want nothing more than to see my wife thrive. To see her vibrant and doing what she loves. I want her to be encouraged and loved in a deep way — and then I become a bonehead. I find myself counting up my good deeds and her not-so-good deeds. I hope that you can’t identify with this. But, chances are you can. Giving trust without keeping a record of rights and wrongs isn’t easy, but it is essential to win the war for relationships at home and at work.

Love is supposed to keep no record of wrongs. Love is supposed to endure, it is supposed to last beyond the moment or temporary satisfaction. I think trust is like love. Trust should keep no record of wrongs. Once you’ve made a decision to trust someone, once you’ve decided that winning at that relationship is non-negotiable, you have to stop keeping score—whether the relationship is with your spouse or your colleague. Stop keeping track of how much more work you get done, how many times you hold your tongue or how many good ideas you present at meetings.

It will still bother you when your colleague is late or your boss discounts your opinion. It will hurt when a colleague steals your idea for their own or when you get passed over for a promotion or opportunity by someone that doesn’t seem to play fair.

Not keeping score doesn’t mean ignoring a bad situation. Healthy conflict can be necessary. Address the situation with wisdom…

but don’t make trust conditional upon a person’s good score.

Trust them. If conflict does need to happen, it will go much better when it happens from a place of trust.

The number one reason why trust cannot be earned is that even if we could find a perfect way to keep score of the performance of every one of our colleagues, no one could do enough good things to guarantee that they wouldn’t disappoint us in the future.

Trust has never existed in a risk-free environment. No matter how well you know someone, given enough opportunities, everyone will fall short in some way or another. If that’s not a reality you’re willing to accept, then you’re never going to have high-trust relationships. At some point, one of the parties involved has to take the risk of giving trust.

richard-fagerlinRichard Fagerlin is the founder and president of Peak Solutions.

With over 20 years of leadership and organizational development experience, he is a sought-after speaker, consultant and facilitator. Richard travels internationally helping clients intentionally create a culture of high trust and to be on purpose with developing leaders at all levels of the organization. In 2015 & 2016 Richard was named one of the top 100 thought leaders on Trust in the world.

A Colorado native, Richard enjoys the beautiful Rocky Mountains with his wife and four boys. His favorite team is whichever one his four boys are currently playing on. He is active in his community while serving on the board of the Community Foundation of Northern Colorado and Mill City Church.

(Scott’s addition: Richard is also the author of a really good book, “Trustology: The art and science of leading high-trust teams”.  It’s one of my personal favorites.  Learn more at

Twitter:  @richardfagerlin   •   LinkedIn:

The BIG lie about TRUST – 5 reasons why trust is not earned

(Guest Author Richard Fagerlin for Real. Simple. Leadership)

Nobody comes to the discussion on trust empty handed. We all have strong feelings about it. We know how it feels when trust is misused, betrayed, or withheld. Our perspectives are real and have been informed by a lifetime of experiences, pain and broken relationships. Sometimes these conclusions are helpful and sometimes they hold us hostage.

Over the years I’ve come to a surprising conclusion: our most popular theories about trust are often untrue and almost always unhelpful.

What I’m going to share will likely go against everything you’ve ever heard or thought about trust. Of all the flawed theories flying around about trust, there is one that is more prevalent and also more damaging than any other:

Trust’s Big Lie: Trust is something that is earned.

The Truth on Trust: Trust can’t be earned. It can only be given.

I know, I know. This is a lie that even I have believed for most of my life. The problem with it is that it just doesn’t make sense.

When we’re deciding how much to trust someone, we usually ask ourselves whether they have earned our trust. That seems like the smart thing to do. Until they earn it, we withhold trust to protect ourselves. We put protective policies in place. We micromanage to maintain control and create limits and boundaries to our relationships.

But the truth is, trust can never be earned. Trust can only be given.

Trust is the responsibility of the person who wants high trust. If you want others to trust you – it’s your responsibility. If you want to be able to trust others – it’s your responsibility. If you are committed to giving and building trust, and determined to overcome any obstacles that stand in your way, you will win high trust. If you work patiently and with perseverance to lead your team towards a high-trust, high-performance culture, you can see it happen. Ten of the most powerful two-letter words in the English language are: If it is to be, it is up to me. If you are to have high trust in your relationships, it starts and ends with you.

I fully realize that this line of thinking might make you squirm. When I’m working with my clients or speaking on this topic, this is where everyone starts to jump out of their seats.

Over the next few posts, I will outline why this lie is damaging, how you can better approach trust and give you a vocabulary for making this thinking stick.

For now, ponder these 5 reasons why trust cannot be earned: Continue reading

The Power of Interest-Based Leadership

(Guest Author Mariann McDonagh, for Real. Simple. Leadership.)

As a senior executive who has built high-performance teams in challenging growth environments, I have often been asked about the secret to my success. The real answer is, there is no secret. Cultivating leaders and building great teams is a full-time job and one that requires commitment and intention.

Great leadership is interest-based leadership; your teams need to know at all times that following you is their best bet because their interests lie with you. And we often forget this critical fact in leadership: following is a voluntary act. To create a passionate, high performing team, they must want to follow you, especially when the going gets tough.

In my experience, interest-based leaders share these characteristics:


Real leaders need to be…real. Especially in a growth environment when the pressure is on, your people can immediately tell if you are not being genuine. Tell it like it is and they’ll accept it at face value. Recognize how hard things are right now and pitch in to help. No one needs to have “smoke blown up their skirt” in an effort to mask what’s really happening. Be straight with your people and they’ll respect you for it.


One of the fundamental keys to interest-based leadership is one-on-one communication. You have to be accessible to your people and make yourself available for questions, brainstorming and helping to remove obstacles from important projects. But don’t confuse accessibility with the need to physically be together in one location. I’ve effectively run teams across 7 time zones, and they always knew I was available to them when they needed me. Remember: the single greatest gift you can give someone is your time, because it’s finite and you can never earn more.


I cannot say enough about the importance of building trust with your teams. Trust that you have their back, trust that you will recognize them when they excel, trust that you’ll course correct them when they need it. A great deal of this trust is developed in the one-on-one communications we just talked about. But it’s also in the consistency of your leadership and the predictability of your behavior. Trust is key for day to day interactions, but where it really matters is when things get hard. When the challenges mount and the outcome and future may seem unclear, it important your teams trust you enough to follow where you lead.


The final ingredient to interest-based leadership is investment. You have to invest in people in order to effectively lead them. You give them your time, your ear, your advice. You help them be better managers, learn how to effectively deal with conflict, help them chart a course to increase their own strategic value. While this may make you uncomfortable, it’s an important epiphany: the more marketable you help your people become, the more loyal they are to you and the faster they will run.

And remember the cardinal rule:

People don’t want to be managed. They want to be led.



Mariann McDonagh.  President, McDonagh Growth Associates


Mariann McDonagh is President and CEO of McDonagh Growth Associates, a rapidly expanding growth consulting business.

At McD Growth, Mariann leverages more than 30 years of experience and C-suite perspective to assist growing companies across a myriad of strategic initiatives.

Prior to launching McD Growth, Mariann McDonagh was responsible for product management, brand strategy, demand generation and channel development at cloud software player, inContact (NASDAQ: SAAS). In five years as the Chief Marketing Officer at inContact, Mariann significantly changed the competitive contact center marketplace, firmly establishing inContact as the leading brand in the market and helping to drive their stock price up by a factor of 4.

Prior to inContact, Mariann served for more than six years as Senior Vice President of corporate marketing for Verint Systems. Mariann’s 30 year career in high-tech and software marketing also includes tenures with CMP Media, Computer Associates and Cheyenne Software.

Mariann is a frequent industry speaker and contributor on cloud, marketing and customer experience and was named one of the most influential women in marketing in 2013 by DM News.

Connect with Mariann on LinkedIn at


Why SHOULD I build trust, anyway…?

A lot has been written – and rightfully so – on the importance of building trust.  Even on this site, I’ve written here and here I’ve written about why it is so important, and how you build it.

Books like Speed of Trust, Trustology and many others give a lot of really good information about why trust is important.  They all give really good insight into trust and why it’s important.

As I sit back and reflect on what that means for leaders, workers, people in general, I realize they probably have a really good question:  “why should I?”  Like, why should I take the time to build trust in relationships at work?  It’s a valid question – because it certainly will take time, and certainly will take a great deal of deliberate attention and work.

So, to the manager (whether first-time, or veteran), who asks this very legitimate question, I share my two simple reasons that you should build trust:

First, it is just the right way to treat people.

Stop and think for a moment -life is about people.  Even the most solitary person among us will rely on people for something.  Work is largely made up of teams, and interactions and communication.  Each person we interact with has their own story, their own perspective, and their own strengths and value.  Behaving with trust and respect is just the right thing to do.

Treat people well.  Trust others.

Cultivating this mindset in your professional life will serve you well – you’ve likely heard the phrase “you reap what you sow”.  There will likely be a time in the future, perhaps totally random and completely unexpected, that a relationship of trust pays some sort of dividend.

Second, it is the best way to get things done.

In our jobs, we all just want to “get stuff done”.  Well, there is very little chance that in your own work, you will be able to get everything done, all the time, by yourself.  You need others.

Leaders learn to effectively ‘contribute through others’.

The bottom line is, people are only going to do stuff if they trust you.  A delegated task, a request for help, etc. will only really be fulfilled if it is laid down on a foundation of trust.

It is very similar to parenting, actually – a kid will respond much more favorably to his/her parent if he/she trusts them.  If the relationship is already in place, requests, discussions, and parental advice will go much more smoothly.

The work place is not that much different.

Trust makes everything smoother.  Trust makes everything easier.

Trust will help us all to “get stuff done”.


The Art (and Work) of Listening

I talked about listening as a key action that can help build trust (full post here) but wanted to dive in a bit deeper because it is so important.

I think we’ve all heard that we should be a good listener, right?

  • Listen to your school teacher
  • Listen to your parents
  • Listen to your significant other
  • Listen to your boss
  • Listen to a friend

…and the list goes on.

Listening truly is one of the most important ways we can build relationships, and lead effectively.

I am reminded of this blog post by Lolly Daskal, which I first read a few years ago.  The whole post isn’t very long, but I want to share a few highlights:

1) The most basic human need is to understand and to be understood.

2) The essence of listening is in silence:

Do not judge

Do not question

Do not fix

3) For many, being silent feels like being inactive. But listening is the act of paying attention, the act of consideration.

…all of which are such insightful points about listening.  Think about each one for a minute.  Such good stuff.  I agree completely with all three!  Leadership and trust are built on this understanding.

So why, then, don’t more people listen?  Why is this such a difficult skill to master? Continue reading