I’ve thought a lot recently on what it means to truly trust your teammates. I think there are a lot of different flavours of trust out there. I like to think that there are three levels of trust:
1) Direct – this actually isn’t a level of trust at all. Although some people view it as trust. Directing is getting another person to do something exactly the same way you would do it. There usually isn’t much empowerment of the other person at all to complete the task as how they see fit. This actually isn’t much fun for either party.
2) Delegate – this is a step in the right trust direction. Delegating is similar to directing the person, except that there is much greater level of autonomy and empowerment given to the person. No longer does the person need to do the task exactly as directed, there is much more lee way in how they complete the task. But with delegating, the ultimate control or direction is still maintained by the delegator.
3) Trust – the final step is beyond delegating. To me what this level means is that you 100% empower the other person to complete the task in any way they see fit. You provide them with the objective that needs to be accomplished and step away.
I think I finally encountered this final level of trust on my recent project. Even though I thought I trusted people before, I believe I was only delegating. This was due to the fact that if I disagreed with the direction, I couldn’t help but to override the team and provide direction. (No matter how polite I was.) 🙂
When you truly trust somebody, you embrace their ideas and designs when they contradict your own ideas and experience. You fully give yourself to support their ideas no matter what. This doesn’t mean that you can’t ask questions to ask if they have considered various factors, but the ultimate decision is theirs.
This point was driven home to me when I believed the direction the team was taking was wrong. I did step back and the team proceeded with their direction, but in my smugness I thought it would be a good learning experience for them. Actually, their solution ended up being better than mine because of various factors. I wasn’t aware of all the context they had and frankly they were smarter than me. 🙂
I learned that day that I need to trust more and delegate less.