Building Higher Trust 53 Use the Word

January 6, 2022

One way to help build the trust between you and another person is to occasionally use the word. Look for opportunities in the normal conversations to insert the word “trust” and it can be helpful, provided the practice is not overdone.

In this brief article, I will share a few examples of how the technique can be helpful if done well.  I will also share how the concept will backfire if it is overdone.

Dealing With a Teenager

Suppose you have a daughter who is going to a party. You have heard rumors of drinking at other parties in this crowd. Since your daughter is underage, you remind her of the responsibility not to drink.  You might say, “I hope you have a good time with your friends, and I know that I can trust you to refrain from drinking because you will be showing a good example.”

Situation at Work

Due to a pandemic, employees are working from home where there is no way to verify if they are putting in the hours they are being paid for.  As a supervisor, you might say, “I am not going to hound you about the hours worked because I know that I can trust you to do what is right.  You may not be working eight consecutive hours because of family interruptions, but I know you will put in a full shift by the end of the day.”

At the Market

You have a complex order that involves several computations to figure out how much you need to pay.  The person figures out the bill and hands it to you. You get out your wallet and hand over the cash without reading the details. The person says, “Aren’t you going to ask me about whether I applied all of the discounts correctly?”  You say, “I know you and I trust you. I have been doing business here for several years.”

Overdone

The caution in this technique is to avoid overdoing it.  Suppose you have been pulled over for speeding. You have no idea exactly how fast you were going because your mind was elsewhere. You thought that you were moving in accord with the rest of the traffic.

You tell the officer, “I am not sure how fast I was going, but I trust that your radar device is properly calibrated.” When the officer asks you for your license and registration you say, “Here they are, and I am trusting that this is the standard procedure in a case like this.”

Later in the exchange, you might say, “Thank you, Officer, for doing your duty, I have great faith and trust in our law enforcement officers, and I trust that you will always do the right thing.”

Conclusion

Using the word trust in everyday conversation can be helpful at deepening the relationship between you and another person.  Use it sparingly when appropriate, and it can be a helpful practice in your life.

Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. Website www.leadergrow.com   BLOG www.thetrustambassador.com He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals,  Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind


Leadership Barometer 127 Situational EQ

January 5, 2022

Emotional Intelligence (also called EQ) is your ability to understand emotions and your skill at using that insight to manage yourself and your relations with other people. 

A high EQ is a prerequisite for good leadership because Emotional Intelligence governs the ability to work well with people.

Many people view EQ as a static quantity within each person, similar to IQ. In reality, EQ is a dynamic quantity that changes and grows as we gain life experiences.

EQ is Never Static

I participated in an online discussion while teaching a graduate course several years ago that highlighted the dynamic aspects of EQ.  I was asking students to rate their current level of EQ.

One person got back that he was strong in EQ, but because of his military background, that skill was not as developed as it might have been. 

He believes EQ is less important in the military because of the command and control nature of the service. People expect to be ordered around and do not take umbrage at the drill sergeant for yelling. That same behavior in the corporate world would cause instant revolt. 

EQ is Situational

EQ is really situational; it morphs depending on the current circumstances and prevailing culture. That is actually good news because it means we have some control over our level of EQ and are not stuck with our current level forever.

Real Examples

Suppose a man who had spent most of his adult life as a mediator for contract negotiations in the corporate world decided to change and become a Jesuit priest. Would his perspective on the emotions of other people change with that transformation? In Rochester, New York, Rev. Edward Salmon made that exact conversion.

Salmon admits that in many ways running a local Catholic High School is similar to corporate work, but the whole framework of challenging the youth to be all they can be takes a much deeper skill of listening and sensitivity.

As we go through life, our skill at using Emotional Intelligence becomes developed and changes with each new situation.  For example, the EQ skills required to convince an ornery teenager to do his homework are not the same as those required to coach a 99-year-old blind man to remain optimistic when confined to a nursing home.

Some of the psychological thoughts would be similar, and the values might be roughly the same, like following the Golden Rule, but the emotional framework in the two environments is vastly different. A different set of tools is required to succeed in each of these situations.

Cultural Differences

I suspect the skill of EQ and how to apply it would be different in unique cultures around the world. For example, one’s behaviors toward other people in England might be totally different than that person would show if he or she was brought up in Japan. The cultural differences would drive unique opportunities and challenges.

Gender Differences

We know that there is a big difference between how men and women experience Emotional Intelligence.  In “Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus,”  John Gray describes the gender paradigm differences that cause men and women to deal with emotions in totally different ways.

For example, women will consult with other women to analyze and resolve problems, while men would rather retreat to their “cave” to deal with difficulties.

It is widely believed that the Corpus Callosum in the female brain is larger than the same organ in a male.

The Corpus Callosum is the “highway” in the brain that connects the right side (limbic, or emotional system) to the left side (rational brain). That allows women to process emotions into logical thought much faster and easier than men.

Conclusion

Your background, skill set, and even gender, along with the environment you experience will determine how you employ Emotional Intelligence in a way that is unique to you. That application of EQ will morph as you go through life in ways that nobody else on the planet can experience.

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPLP, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations. 

 


Reducing Conflict 22 Care for Other People

January 3, 2022

The most potent way to reduce conflict within any group is to get the people to genuinely care for each other. It is so obvious, we sometimes forget.

There are always going to be stress points between people. That is a fact of life, but when people have the ability to rise above the petty annoyances and truly care for other people, the conflict has a short lifespan.

It’s pretty hard to stay mad at a person who just brought you a chocolate chip cookie as a surprise. Sometimes a soothing and gentle word is enough to change the vector of some inter-group squabbles.

Important concepts

I learned a lesson early in my career that stuck with me.  When you extend kindness when it is not expected, it has double the power. When you surprise someone with a gracious gesture, it really goes a long way.

Remember your body language

Another thing to remember is that it does not take tangible gifts to turn a sour situation sweet.  What you say is critical, and how you say it is even more important. 

Keep in mind that we extract more meaning from body language and tone of voice than the actual words that are being used.

If you are feeling anger toward another person, it will show all over your body.  When there is conflict, get into a happier state of mind before trying to patch things up.

Notes can help

Often a note that has the right flavor will reduce conflict between people. Imagine you and Mike had an argument on how to accomplish a tricky step on a project. You decided to go with Mike’s approach. 

Now imagine you wrote a note to Mike’s manager telling her how Mike’s contribution was pivotal in allowing a successful conclusion to the project.  You copy Mike on the note.  He is going to appreciate the gesture and may even send a note of thanks back to you.

Remember to praise in writing when possible. If there is some constructive criticism, keep that verbal because verbal input has a half-life. Notes remain forever.

Find Special Ways to Demonstrate That You Care

There are an infinite number of ways you can show another person you care about her.  One word of caution: make sure your gestures are genuine and not an act. When you put on a phony show of affection it can do more damage than you might think.

The other person will write you off as a jerk and your attempt to calm the situation will have backfired.

Free Video

Here is a 3-minute video that contains more information on how to care for other people.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xW0SQ8xE598

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

 

 


Building Trust 52 Dealing With Failure

December 31, 2021

Most of us have dealt with a trust failure at some point in our life. It can be devastating because trust is so precious and difficult to build.

Earlier in this series of trust articles, I shared a piece with a couple of examples of extreme betrayal and the process to use to either end the relationship or repair it to be stronger than ever. https://thetrustambassador.com/2021/06/25/building-higher-trust-27-trust-betrayals/  

In this article, I want to address the less severe types of trust let-downs that we experience from time to time.  I will discuss some best practices and some things to avoid doing.  I will use the example of a friend who had agreed to proofread a draft of a book I had written and provide an endorsement.

The normal time for such an activity would be one or two weeks.  When I had not heard anything for five weeks, I became concerned.  Perhaps the person had become distracted or was sick or something. He may have put the project on his back burner and was busy doing other things. There also could have been an unexpected event.

What to Do:  First Order of Business

As soon as you suspect something isn’t working according to plan, the first thing to do is act; do not procrastinate hoping things will get better. You are holding a dead fish that stinks, and the stench will only get worse with time.

Open up a friendly dialog to check on the status of the project.  No need to be combative or disrespectful, just inquire how the work is progressing and if the person has an estimate for when he will be finished.

This low key and unassuming approach will at least get the flow of information going. The other person might not have understood the short term nature of the project and had put the job on hold for summertime to come around.  

Next Step: Renegotiate the Delivery

Work with the other person to identify a reasonable timeframe for delivery.  Once you have a commitment date, it is a good idea to have a short verification note in the email. This action will ensure a tight agreement between both of you.

The note also gives you prior permission to check up if the job slips beyond the new delivery date. 

What if the Pattern Persists

If you are dealing with a person who has a habit of missing presumed deadlines, then you want to put all future agreements in writing so you have a firm commitment documented.

Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. Website www.leadergrow.com   BLOG www.thetrustambassador.com He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals,  Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind


Leadership Barometer 126 Morale and Motivation

December 29, 2021

Every manager I have ever met, including myself, would appreciate higher morale and motivation among his or her team. After all, these two attitudes lead directly to productivity and employee satisfaction, which are pivotal in sustaining a healthy business.

Many managers have a stated goal to improve morale, motivation, or both.  I contend the mindset inherent in setting goals for these items shows a lack of understanding that actually will limit the achievement of both.

If you try to improve morale by having picnics and “hat days,” you are likely to fail.

The reason is that morale and motivation are not objectives; they are the outcomes of a great or a lousy culture.  A better approach is to spend your time and energy trying to improve the environment to include higher trust, then higher morale and motivation will magically happen.

It makes no difference whether the team is physically together, working from home, or in some hybrid configuration.  The level of morale and motivation will be a direct function of the trust level you find within the group and with their leaders.

If leaders try to drive for higher morale, it may sound to the employees like the famous saying, “The beatings will continue until morale improves.”

Real Example

I have seen a group of people at work with such low motivation, there seemed to be no way to get any work done. If a manager dared try to speak to a group of employees, they would heckle or just pay no attention.

Nothing the leader said or did had much impact on the employees, so in desperation, the manager would stoop to threats.  This would elicit a half-hearted groan and some compliance for a time, but the quality of product would suffer, and the gains were only temporary.

I saw that same group of workers six months down the line after putting in a really good leader.  The atmosphere was entirely different. The employees showed by their body language that they were eager to do a great job. 

If there was a dirty or difficult job and the leader asked for volunteers, half a dozen hands would go up immediately.  When they were at work, they resembled the seven dwarfs whistling while they worked, rather than slaves in the belly of a ship who were forced to row.

How was that one leader able to accomplish such a turnaround in just six months?  The leader focused on changing the underlying culture to one of high trust rather than just demanding improvement in the performance indicators.  The motivation and morale improved by orders of magnitude as a result rather than because they were the objective. Let’s look at some specific steps this manager took early in her term that turned things around quickly: 

Built trust – She immediately let people know she was not there to play games with them. She was serious about making improvements in their existence and had that foremost in her mind. She built a real culture where people felt safe to come to her with any issue and know they would not be insulted or punished.

She showed by her attitude that she was a servant leader who was interested in the well-being of the workers. 

Improved teamwork – She invested in some teamwork training for the entire group, offsite. These workshops made a big difference in breaking down barriers and teaching people how to get along better in the pressure cooker of normal organizational life. 

Empowered others – She made sure the expectations of all workers were known to them but did not micromanage the process. She let people figure out how to accomplish tasks and got rid of several arcane and restrictive rules that were holding people back from giving their maximum discretionary effort. 

Reinforced progress – The atmosphere became lighter and more fun for the workers as they started to feel more successful and really enjoyed the creative reinforcement activities set up by their leader.  She let the workers plan their own celebrations within some reasonable guidelines and participated in the activities herself. 

Promoted the good work – the manager held a series of meetings with higher management to showcase the progress in an improved culture.  The workers were involved in planning and conducting these meetings, so they got the benefit of the praise directly from top management. 

Set tough goals – It is interesting that the manager did not set weak or easy goals. Instead, she set aggressive stretch goals and explained her faith that the team was capable of achieving them. At first, people seemed to gulp at the enormity of her challenges, but that soon gave way to elation as the teams reached and even exceeded several milestones. 

Support – The manager supported people when they had personal needs, and made sure the organization received the funding needed to buy better equipment and tools. 

Firm but fair – The manager was consistent in her application of discipline. People respected her for not playing favorites and for making some tough choices that may have been unpopular at the moment but were right in the long run. Her strength was evident in decisions every day, so people respected her.

This manager turned a near-hopeless workforce into a cracker-jack team of highly motivated individuals in six months. Morale was incredibly high. Even though improving morale was not her objective, it was the outcome of her actions to improve the culture.

If you want to be one of the elite leaders of our time, regardless of how difficult things appear, work on the culture of your organization rather than driving a program to improve morale and motivation. Develop trust and treat people the right way, and you will see a remarkable transformation in an amazingly short period of time.   

Robert Whipple is also the author of The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals and, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online. Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc. a company dedicated to growing leaders.

 


Reducing Conflict 21 Take a Mental Vacation

December 27, 2021

In this brief article, I will share a technique that will allow you to take a vacation in your mind anytime you wish.

Imagine you are in a conflict situation at work and you are getting pretty worked up. Imagine the blessing of being able to transport yourself into an activity that you find personally peaceful and rejuvenating.

Create Your Ideal Environment in Your Mind

The technique to accomplish this transformative activity is rather simple to do, but it does take practice. First, you need to create some separation from your current stressors.

Sit in a comfortable place with your feet on the floor and breathe deeply for about 30 seconds with your eyes closed.  Now begin to imagine that you are in your most happy place in the world.

Get All of Your Senses Involved in the Analogy

The trick here is to get as many of your senses involved in making the journey to your imaginary haven as possible.  Let me share an example to illustrate. Suppose your ideal vacation spot would be on a warm beach in Mexico.

Keep your eyes closed and begin to hear the lapping of the waves as they roll in from the warm sea.  Smell and taste the salty air around you. Feel the breeze as it touches lightly on your skin. Enjoy the warm feeling of the sun on your skin. Taste the sweet and salty margarita that the waiter just gave you.

Keep breathing deeply as you experience the peacefulness of the beach and the warm sand beneath you.  Within a minute or two, your blood pressure will go down and you will experience a kind of restorative force that feels terrific.

Slowly Come Back to Reality

Now, it is time to come back down to earth and join civilization again, but you will be in a completely different mindset than you were in just a few minutes earlier.

As you engage with other people (who prior to the exercise were annoying you), continue to feel the warm beach and engage them with kindness and empathy. You will appear to be a different person to the former agitator, and the interaction is likely to take a much more constructive turn. 

The actual environment has not changed, but you are a changed person, having just returned from your vacation.  You will be amazed at how well this technique works to reduce conflict in your world.  The world is actually the same, but you are very different.  That makes all the difference.

Free Video

Here is a 3-minute video that contains more information on the technique to take a mental vacation.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ikYxbqQmNSs

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

 


Building Higher Trust 51 Who Can I Trust

December 24, 2021

The question of who can I trust does not come up every day, but when it does, it can be an interesting puzzle.

Have you ever had a situation where you are with a bunch of people who are new to you and you are wondering how much you should trust a particular individual?

You do not have enough data to make a firm assessment, so what can you go on? You might say to yourself, “Well, since I don’t know any of these people yet, I’ll start off trusting everybody.” That would be a kind of “blind trust” that would backfire in some cases.

I think a better approach is to use your gut feelings about an individual based on just a few seconds of observation.  If a person seems self-absorbed and is looking around the room for who is there, I would be a bit cautious, at least at first. 

On the other hand, if an individual steps up and introduces herself to you with a friendly demeanor, then you might have a small bond already. Add in some small talk with good eye contact, and you have found a person that you can relate to and likely trust at least to some extent.

If you are not sure how to read a person, try extending a greeting and see how he or she reacts.  Obviously, if there is no reciprocal greeting, then the caution flag should go up immediately.  Something is wrong, and you need to reserve judgment until you can gather more data. 

Reading people quickly is a challenge because some people are naturally more shy than others.  Beware of the extreme case where a person is totally reticent to interact or the other extreme where a person appears overly friendly.

An example of the latter might be a person who uses a two-handed handshake when first meeting you.  That is far too presumptuous for a first handshake, almost like putting their hand on your shoulder as they shake your hand.  Hang on to your wallet!

Thankfully, the kind of situation I am talking about in this article is not very common.  Usually, you have a lot more data to go on as you decide how much trust to extend to another person.  Keep track of your emotions when meeting new people and debrief the situation with yourself to ask why you reacted the way you did.

A variant of the face-to-face situation is when the other parties are virtual. Body language is significantly more difficult to read in these cases.  For example, in a virtual discussion real eye contact is impossible to achieve.  If you look directly into the camera, then you cannot see the eyes of the other person. If you look at the screen, then you are not looking directly at the other person from their perspective. Keep in mind that the position on the screen is different for different people.

You can also have phone conversations where voice inflection is an important ingredient as well.  You need to take into account the communication limitations of whatever medium you are using.

Since the virtual arrangement, or at least a hybrid situation, is common these days, you need to go more slowly when trying to assess how much to trust another person.  Pay attention to the feelings you have as the other person addresses you and try to send consistent signals yourself.  Give it time and try to extend trust as soon as you can.

Recognize that fully mature trust does take time because it requires verification of perspectives based on the early clues. In a virtual world, it does take longer to develop full trust.  

Bob Whipple is CEO of Leadergrow, Inc. an organization dedicated to growing leaders. Website www.leadergrow.com   BLOG www.thetrustambassador.com He is author of the following books: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals,  Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, and Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind


Leadership Barometer 125 Impact of Micromanagement

December 22, 2021

Everybody hates to be micromanaged. So why do so many managers do it?   We know that overbearing, but well-intended, managers micromanage all the time in an attempt to optimize performance. I will identify the cure for this habitual dilemma in this article.

The problem is that by micromanaging people, the manager is severely limiting performance rather than optimizing it, so the manager is operating at cross purposes to his stated goal.  I am using the male pronouns here, but recognize that female managers are also prone to micromanage.

Unwittingly, the manager is removing the incentive for effort and creativity on the part of the employee. We are so familiar with this problem simply because it is rampant in many of our organizations.

Let us contrast micromanagement versus trust to give some insight on how the latter leads to greatly enhanced performance.

To micromanage someone implies a lack of trust. The manager is not confident the employee can or will do a job correctly, so the employee is besieged with “helpful” instructions from the manager on exactly how to perform tasks.

At first, the intrusion is simply irritating to the employee who has her own ideas on how to do the job.  After a while, it degenerates into an opportunity to check out mentally and join the legion of disenchanted workers doing what they are told and collecting a paycheck.  This leaves much of the employee’s power on the doorstep of the organization every day.

Another drawback is that employees will try to avoid a manager who tends to micromanage, simply to reduce the aggravation. This leads to a circular decline, where the manager has less and less information, so he tries even harder to intervene and direct activities. This reaction makes people want to avoid him even more. 

To trust an employee is to think enough of the person to treat him or her as a thinking person who can have good ideas if given a goal and some broad operating parameters. In an environment of trust, employees have the freedom to explore, innovate, create, stretch, and yes, sometimes make mistakes. These mistakes can be thought of as waste, but enlightened leaders think of them simply as learning opportunities. 

Here are nine ideas that can help leaders and managers reduce the tendency to micromanage, thus unleashing a greater portion of the power available to the organization.

  1. Set clear goals and make sure your employees have the basic skills and tools to do the job.
  2. Be clear on the broad constraints within which the employee must operate. In other words, do not let the employee try to conquer the world with a tuna-fish can.
  3. Express trust in the employee and encourage creativity and risk-taking as long as the risks are well-considered and safe.
  4. Reject the temptation to step in if the employee seems to struggle, rather make yourself available if there are any questions or requests for help.
  5. Provide the resources the employee needs to accomplish the tasks.
  6. Do not totally overload the employee with so many duties and projects that he or she cannot succeed at any of them.
  7. Express praise and gratitude for positive baby steps along the way.
  8. Give the employee time and space to try different approaches without having to explain why she is doing every step.
  9. If problems occur, consider them as learning experiences and ask the employee to describe how she will do things differently next time.

These nine ideas are all simple, but they are nearly impossible for a micromanager to accomplish without constant effort. The concept of trusting employees does involve some risk, but the rewards of having people working up to their full potential rather than just complying is well worth that risk. You will see better, faster, and more robust solutions if you trust people and let their natural talents surface in an environment of less micromanagement. 

Robert Whipple is also the author of The TRUST Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals and, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online. Bob consults and speaks on these and other leadership topics. He is CEO of Leadergrow Inc. a company dedicated to growing leaders.


Reducing Conflict 20 Live and Let Live

December 20, 2021

We all need to learn to live and let live. One of the more frequent sources of conflict at home or at work is the tendency for one person to try to  “fix” another person. We look at the habits of other people, and because they are not our own, they can tend to grate on us over time.

One of my favorite comedians is Mark Gungor. He has a great routine on this topic. He says that the fundamental argument in most marriages is “Why can’t you be more like me?  I’m fabulous, and you are clearly mentally deranged.”

Very Common Problem.

At the office, where people are often operating many hours per week in close proximity, the petty annoyances build up to a flashpoint regularly, and we attempt to “fix” the other person because the clipping of his nails every few days drives us crazy.

We need to realize that the petty problems are just that, and truth be told, we probably annoy the other person as much as he does us. Is there no hope for a peaceful coexistence? Thankfully, the answer is “yes.”

How to Liberate Yourself

The first thing to realize is that when you dwell on the habits of other people, what you are really doing is making yourself miserable. You do have a choice to rise above the petty problems and create more joy for yourself. By doing so you enhance the relationship for both people and have less conflict in your life.

For some reason, our Creator programmed in a tendency to want to influence other people to have similar habits to our own. It probably originates as an ego response. Get over it and you will be much happier and also much more popular.

Just because another human being’s issues are driving us crazy does not mean we need to dwell on these negative thoughts and suffer. We are really cheating ourselves out of a happier existence.

Get into the habit of looking past the issues that bug you every day.  Stop trying to “fix” the other people in your life and you will live a happier life.

Free Video

Here is a 3-minute video that contains more information on the technique to live and let live.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zDgKFItJIlk

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of four books: 1.The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals (2003), 2. Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online (2006), 3. Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind (2009), and 4. Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change (2014). In addition, he has authored over 1000 articles and videos on various topics in leadership and trust. Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.

 


Mastering Mentoring 23 Keep a Journal

December 18, 2021

It is a good idea to keep a simple journal of the decisions and topics covered in a mentor relationship. Many mentor relationships endure for several years.  I had a mentor who worked with me for 25 years.

A lot of change happens on a daily and weekly basis, so it is helpful to be able to reference things that happened in the past and document any key learnings.  The journal itself does not need to be detailed or a burden; just a few notes along the way will serve as memory joggers.

See the Progress

It is also important to view the progress that resulted from the relationship. Having a record of the things that have come about as a result of the relationship demonstrates the vitality and progress that have transpired. It provides the reinforcement necessary to keep the effort going.

Who Takes the Notes?

Depending on the relationship and topics covered, it may be advantageous for both parties to keep some notes in their own words.  The alternative is to have one party document the discussions, or you might try alternating between the two people with just one document as the master.

Evidence of Return

The other advantage of a journal is that it gives tangible evidence of the investment being made. You may be able to estimate the number of hours spent in coaching sessions over the course of a year. That would be helpful information to show the return on investment of time for both people.

Template for Other Relationships

You can also view the list as a check sheet for other mentor relationships.  Having the various topics documented will enhance other relationships because you will not forget what issues were covered. That does not mean each relationship will be the same thing, but it does give a good starting point.

The document should be viewable to both parties at any time. It should not be considered a private listing of topics and issues.

Conclusion

Having a mentoring relationship well documented has several advantages. It is worth the small effort along the way to keep track of the discussions. 

Bob Whipple, MBA, CPTD, is a consultant, trainer, speaker, and author in the areas of leadership and trust.  He is the author of: The Trust Factor: Advanced Leadership for Professionals, Understanding E-Body Language: Building Trust Online, Leading with Trust is Like Sailing Downwind, and Trust in Transition: Navigating Organizational Change.  Bob has many years as a senior executive with a Fortune 500 Company and with non-profit organizations.