Episode: 22 Trust with Brian Comerford and Nick Lozano

Episode: 22 Trust with Brian Comerford and Nick Lozano

Trust is not an option. Trust is foundational to the productivity of a team, let alone its effectiveness. When team trust is in deficit, it’s like a crumpled piece of paper that is nearly impossible to ever smooth out again – or so say co-hosts Nick Lozano and Brian Comerford as they embark on a rigorous discussion exploring the importance of trust, its most common enemies, and some methods about how to turn things around when teams become dysfunctional.

0:14 Intro
1:18 Episode Open
2:41 Trust and Caring
6:44 Braving
11:22 Do What You Say You Will Do
13:47 Leading by Fear
30:56 Culture
36:15 Five Dysfunctions
41:55 Braving the Wilderness
44:35 Closing


Hosted By:

Brian Comerford
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/briancomerford/

Nick Lozano
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/nick-lozano-97356621/
Twitter: https://twitter.com/NickLLozano

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Show Transcript:

Brian Comerford  0:14
Well, you know, we're off to a good start with a new year. And part of what I've been reflecting on, you know, really has to do with those elements that I think are foundationally important to having a successful team and really being able to effect a successful leadership within the workplace and within the culture that you're trying to help. curate. And for me, that comes down to a critical factor. Let's just call it what it is trust.

Nick Lozano  0:48
Yeah, now, and we we kind of went all over the board but you know, you say trust and trust comes to me it's about caring, right. It's about caring about your people caring about their work life balance, caring about them as individuals can Caring about their career growth, you know, just genuinely caring about them and not gossiping, right? You know, be having that open line of communication that there's a lot of layers to trust, right? It's like an onion me just kind of like, only peel back a small amount of the layers, I feel like

Brian Comerford  1:18
Absolutely. And then it is something that we can go deep on it because there are so many layers. For me, reliability is one of those critical factors. You know, really making sure that your your words and deeds align, making sure that that you're not avoiding some of the more difficult issues that are necessary to confront within the team both to establish the expectation of accountability and results, as well as helping to cultivate a an openness To asking questions and debating topics in a way that can be productive and healthy, versus just making people feel like their ideas are being challenged because they're under attack.

Welcome to another edition of lead, Donnie Ryan coming forward in Denver, Colorado,

Nick Lozano  2:28
and I'm Nick Lozano in Washington DC.

Brian Comerford  2:31
And I'm battling a little bit of a cold today, so pardon my congestion.

Nick Lozano  2:36
I think that'll be fine. Brian.

Brian Comerford  2:41
You know, Nick, I thought it would be interesting to talk about a subject that I imagine every leader is confronted with, both from within the team as as well as within themselves at various points in their career and that subject is trust. So there's there's a lot of directions that we can take it. But this is a topic that resonates with me. You know, I think it's, it's something that I've seen a lot of examples of, in my professional career, both the, the absence of trust as well as the well functioning of a trusting team environment. So, so I'd like to hear a little bit from you about, you know, what, like, Where's that take your mind when I just kind of spring that topic on you.

Nick Lozano  3:37
So when you say trust to me, from a leadership perspective, or a leader, I actually think about caring, right? That that's the number one thing I think of when when I think of trust, you know, that you're a leader that you actually care about the people that you're leading. You know, I care about Brian as individual I care about your personal goals. I care about your career aspirations. I care about your work, work life balance, and I care about your family obligations. Right. And I'm not talking about just a Brian, you know, I care about that stuff, I'm talking about actually, genuinely caring about you as an individual and your as a person. And as a member of the team, so that so when I go back to me, my mind, you know, Karen's The most important thing, when I think of trust, and because if you care about your people, and the caring is genuine, that they can, people can tell right when you're being fake, and when you're not. You know, instantly when you care about your people, they can instantly tell where the heck going with this. You know, like when you care about people, and it's genuine. You know, they know your intentions as a leader is that you're doing the best that you can for them. You're part of the team. You work with them. They don't work for you. Does that make sense? Absolutely.

Brian Comerford  5:00
And, you know, I think the genuineness of, of that caring is part of what I just heard you say, and you know, when you are authentic and having a high degree of empathy, either for your co workers, for your organization, for your direct reports. that's ultimately what helps to feed that mentality of caring, right? It's actually taking the time to stop all the mental chatter and truly listen to what's going on around here. Right, whether you're in a direct conversation, or it's something over time, where, you know, I know you and I have been in presentation mode together before where, you know, we've we've talked specifically about what does that mean? When you've actually got authentic relationships I know you like to talk about walk your shift, but there's also I think the fact that, you know, you could openly point out specific things that you know about me and what some of those things in my own personal life are, that are important to me. And, you know, that I think also feeds into some of that caring, where, you know, as co workers, we can trust that we, we know who we are as people, we know how that feeds into our personal value system. And we know how to kind of orient ourselves with each other. And in the way that we we work or find a style of working together. Sound fair

Nick Lozano  6:39
Sounds Sounds like a fair summary of what I said more and more eloquently put.

Brian Comerford  6:44
I don't know about that, but and I know that you and I are also recent fans of Rene Browns book, braving the wilderness and you know, the braving acronym. You know, which to me, I think a lot of the things that you are key in that book. And it's a short book. It's a quick read. So it's one that I know that I advocate reading and I think you would probably do the same. But you know, braving, you know, as that acronym boundaries, reliability, accountability, vault integrity, non judgment, and generosity, right? All of those things to me help create that sense of foundation for where trust comes from, whether it's in personal relationships, whether it's in the work environment. And, you know, I think one of those, I guess you could call it a litmus test, right for how much trust you actually feel is in the workplace. Right. One of those things that I think can help measure whether or not it's there, is you know, how much background chatter how much gossip right is really going on? How much are people questions? You know, what is this person saying? And now? Or can you believe that that just happened? You know, to me, it's when when you've got indicators like that in the workplace. It's, it's corrosive, because it starts to take away from, you know, anybody being able to just take what someone else says at face value, right? There's always this, you know, lingering in the back of the mind, criticality, right analysis of, you know, like, what am I reading between the lines here, because it couldn't really be that simple. And that can be destructive on you know, just being able to execute and harmony as a workforce, don't think.

Nick Lozano  8:49
Yeah, I agree. And I think something you know, you brought up is is a big thing. There's gossip and right. But when does gossip happen? It's It's when leaders don't actively communicate with their team members. And it allows, you know, their team members an opportunity to just make up whatever they think is going on. Right? And then rumors spread, instead of opening the line of communication about, Hey, you know, you know, the boss wants us to do this, you know, I'm not a big fan of it, you know, we need to get this done. So x, y, z, so we can increase sales, you know, instead of, not, you know, letting communicating with their staff up and down, is leaving gossip to kind of happen, and it kind of erodes that trust, right? Because if you let people give them time to, you know, think on their own, what's going to happen, it's never going to be good. Right? gossips going to happen. And if we go back to you know the thing up, I say this all the time that will walk in your shift thing, if we're walking around talking to our people, having engaging conversations, letting them know the why the same Simon Sinek right, start with why why we're doing something. We can kind of stops knows that the gossip before it even happens.

Brian Comerford  10:04
For sure, you know that to me going back to that braving acronym, it's it's the reliability. And you know, reliability means a number of things. And I think it's very critical to be incumbent on leaders to be reliable, and particularly when you're talking about ensuring that your words and your actions match, right? Because then, then that's the kind of thing that creates the confidence among your team members and within the workplace that I think helps mitigate against the gossip factor. When people have the confidence that what you say in what you do are in alignment, and that you're not going to go ask somebody to do something that is outside of their personal integrity or your own or the organization's integrity, then that's that's part of what I think helps you know, mitigate against people really questioning, you know, what's, what's the intent behind the scenes here? And, you know, start letting the gossip mind take over with all this chatter trying to, you know, analyze, you know, what, what might be the hidden agenda?

Nick Lozano  11:22
Yeah 100% agree, you know, you're what you say. And what you do speaks volumes, right? It's kind of like the old adult thing parents always say Do as I say not as I do, right? And then you know, children see what their parents are doing and then they're just going to go ahead and replicate what they see right because the Actions speak louder than words. And and as we go back to to, you know, can you speak up the trust and the rumors and fear kind of we're kind of bringing up fear right. And in the book creativity Inc, add cat Mel had a great quote. It was like, you know, fear can be created quickly, but trust cannot. Right? As soon as we break that trust, you know, it's really hard to gain it back. It's like a piece of paper, right? You crumble it up, but you can never make it flat again. And that's why trust is when when you as a leader, you know, don't do what you say you'll do. When you say you will do it. When you act differently than what your word say. And you might think, you know, people might think that they're getting away with things eventually, in the end, it always catches back up with them, right? People are smarter than you think they are. And if you try to go back behind their back and do something different other they see they see it, they know they see it. That's when the gossip starts. Right.

Brian Comerford  12:43
Yeah, you know, that. That reminds me there's a book by Patrick lencioni called the Five Dysfunctions of a team and in that one, you know, he really spells out you know, what, what are those those issues and graphically, it's it's represented Like a triangle where, you know, trust is that foundation. Right. And so the absence of trust, of course ends up being that critical. First. You know, it's like, it's like a force multiplier for all of these others dysfunctions right? When the absence of trust is is at the foundation of the working dynamic of your team. That is part of what breeds all those other layers that are that are ultimately driven by fear. I mean, exactly what you're talking about. You know, the trust it's hard to come by the The fear is something that you know, that's a that's a swift breeder.

Nick Lozano  13:47
sack, I mean, leading with fear is it's not the way to go. Right. It might get, you know, something resolved very quickly, but you're burning your leadership capital, when when you lead with fear. There's going to come to a point where, where people just aren't going to put up with it, right? No one wants to work for a dictator in your team or suffer for it. You know, when you lead with, you know, by fear, you're leading like a dictator. I mean, how do dictators, control countries they lead, they control countries through fear. You know, when you lead your teams with fear, yelling, screaming, doing things behind their back, that's exactly what you're doing. You're not being trustworthy. So, so why would anyone want to work with that?

Brian Comerford  14:33
You know, it's true. But let's think about the psychology of that for a minute because, you know, dictators often don't just seize control, right? You think about the history of since very successful dictatorships and one in particular comes to mind where, you know, we had fair and free elections of someone like it all Hitler, right, who was given the power and And continued to encroach on taking more power that again was freely given. And I think part of that is done through that, that tactic of fear. Right. But I think another part of it is when in a trusting environment, I think you as a worker and your co workers have the confidence to be able to speak out. Right. And that may be let's voice some ideas, let's openly debate some things. In technology in particular, you and I both know there's multiple ways to skin a cat. I mean, there's not just a single solution for anything that you might need to accomplish. But part of the I think the creativity in being a technologist comes from looking at the various ways that you can solve some of these challenges. And so, you know, we're all better when we're openly voicing things that we have, from our own experience, our own knowledge, our own ideation, right that we can contribute to the conversation where this draconian sort of perspective comes in, that not only, you know, comes with fully baked ideas, where it's like, any question that's asked is going to be considered an attack, which just seems irrational. But that's part of what I think this dictatorial mindset that we're, we're talking about, right? That's part of what it breeds. But conversely, it's, you know, how swiftly then, does that kind of approach work to shut down other people from asking questions? And how quickly then, is it that a team starts to fall apart where, like, no one feels like well, wait a second, I can't say anything about that. I can't poke any holes in this. I can't offer any alternate opinions or provide you know, a variety You have options, it's going to be this one way or not at all. And pretty soon, you know, you start losing what I think is the more skillful dynamic of having a strong, you know, team and particularly as a technical leader, you want to make sure that you've got, you know, a lot of arrows in your quiver, right, not just saddled with one specific skill set, you want people to be able to work together that can complement each other. And and so, you know, I think the other component to me about that sort of dictatorial approach is, you know, one of the first indicators is shutting down questions and, you know, creating an environment that is hostile to, you know, anyone sharing an alternate opinion. So, I'm kind of curious about, you know, what do you think of that, if that's, I'm just speaking out of turn here, that's something that you've seen, or, you know, have your own views on?

Nick Lozano  17:58
No, I agree with you on that, and we We go back to talk about this, you know, style be now, I guess authoritarian is kind of what we're talking about, you know, my way or the highway, they tend to build their teams with a bunch of guests men, yes, men and yes, women, right. And that's really not the best way to build your team. I really want somebody who's going to challenge my opinion, to guess that maybe my assumptions are wrong, right? Maybe the ideas we're having, we're not thinking about them correctly. And, you know, when we operate as a team with a bunch of Yes, people, you know, eventually those teams fail, right? Because they're relying on one person to make every decision, they're micromanaged. And, you know, your shining stars don't hang around to be on those teams to make them feel successful. Because it's just a terrible work environment. I'm sure we've all worked in some environment that at some point in time, you know, whether it's in technology or or some other field or job we had in college or high school. or something. But you know, you definitely don't want to surround yourself with a bunch of Yes, people. In my opinion, I want the people who are going to challenge my opinions and my thoughts and my ideas. You know, we're going to have a civil discourse, right? And challenge each other's ideas in that, that helps us deliver a better product, but deliver a better customer solution or, you know, widgets, whatever we're building

Brian Comerford  19:26
on to take it back to what you were saying initially about caring. You know, I think when you feel that your voice is being heard within the team, and particularly when you feel like there's some some resonance, that's that's happening between you and whoever the leader of your team is, that's when you really start to derive a sense of personal value, right? It's a it's a contribution that's not just being easily dismissed, even if the idea is something that, you know, it's been thought about and there's reasons why we're not going to try that feeling like you've got an open opportunity to voice something to be to be heard, and someone to say, Yep, no, I agree with you that you're thinking in the right way. You know, here are the reasons why we might not want to do that, to me, those are leadership characteristics where, you know, as a leader, we create a sense in the environment of being open and approachable. Even if, you know, our, our subordinates are making mistakes or you know, missing some of the critical details, where an idea that they're suggesting might not be the right fit. It's, you know, that's where we as leaders, then have an opportunity to be able to help guide someone along and show them you know, know that you're, like, You're, you're thinking correctly on these things here. Here's where there's a couple of gaps, right? Don't Don't forget about this detail or never assume you know, and and be able to really work As someone who's helping to cultivate and develop that critical thinking, particularly in a technical environment where it's so important that you've got things really airtight by the time they get into a production environment.

Nick Lozano  21:15
No, I completely agree with you. It gets back to that old saying, what I can't remember is that bill, give me a brick, don't build me a cathedral, right? Order goes, it's something like that again. 100 word for word. But, you know, as leaders, we should be giving them bricks, they can build the buildings, we don't build a cathedral and turn to them and say, Hey, build this, right, that are our team doesn't grow that way. We're not fostering the trust in between them that they'll get the job done. You know, we've hired people for a reason, right? We hire them to do a job because we think they're competent and they can do it not so that we can stand behind them and tell them exactly what we want them to do if, if that were the case, then why did we even hire somebody? Just do it yourself. But that, like you said that tophet, we're talking about, you know, coaching your people, right, bringing them up to speed slowly. You know, we should be doing everything we can as leaders to help them grow. And that's part of the trust factor, right? As long as you know, our team members know that we're doing everything we can to help them. They're going to do more for you. It's like, you know, Gary Vaynerchuk always says, he's like, you know, once you realize that you work for your people, and your people don't work for you, your life will become so much easier. Because for for your team members, the economics aren't there, right? If we own a software development company, why would our software engineers care about hitting revenue numbers for the year? They're not going to care? The Economics aren't there for them, right? Until you, you know, flip your thinking and try to drive change and let them know that hey, you know, I care about you, you know, I want you to be the best software developer you can be what can I do to help you What classes do we need? Do you need more developers on staff? Do I need to challenge you more? Is there more things I can do for you? You know, we need to approach it more like how can I help you? What can I do for you?

Brian Comerford  23:12
That's great. And, you know, I think, I think, along those same lines, you know, invoking some guiding principles within your team to really demand that, right. So we were talking a little bit about that, you know, that that fear of really being heard asking questions, right. You know, we could even call that a fear of conflict, right? You don't want to create the abrasion that comes from Oh, well, why I know this certain personality type. And if I ask you the question, it's going to be taken as an attack. Rather than having that guidance, you know, now we're going to have conflict. So I'm just going to withdraw and not say anything at all. So you know, again, I think method for helping to be able to mitigate that is to demand that right? To make sure that you have clear guiding principles within your team that says, Look, when when we're bringing ideas forward, I want to hear something from everyone on the team that can help debate this. Right? We're not going to just take this, as you know, this is the right idea. We think it's the right idea, but we do want to poke holes in it. And, you know, we want to be able to, to get to a place where, you know, we feel like we have a consensual commitment that, you know, we've thought through all the ins and outs with this thing.

Nick Lozano  24:46
Now, I completely agree with that, right? And there's different ways that you can kind of handle you know, the internal communication, right. The way I always kind of like to do it is that our Want to hear somebody's idea fully before you let anybody but in with rebuttals, right? It kind of goes back to the Peter Margarita thing where we talked about saying yes, and instead of No, but I want to hear a fully fleshed out idea before people are starting to challenge it, let them get to their point, let them express their idea before we start cutting it off, right and say, No, no, no, we can't do that that's impossible. You know, you don't know what you're talking about. Let's assume that the person across from the table who's speaking knows something that we don't, you know, whether they're an entry level software engineer or, you know, support staff, or even the janitor, right, we have to give them that trust and understand that, you know, they possibly know something that you don't know and you have to give them an opportunity to, you know, fully flush out their thought in front of anybody before we start challenging ideas right away, right?

Brian Comerford  25:55
For sure, you know, being respectful and you know, Again, back to ensuring that your your words and your deeds right match up. When others see that, then you do shift into a place of being an empathetic leader, that you are a good listener, that that you demonstrate that you've heard, and that you're respectful and you know, the way that you make a reply, even if it's to say, you know, I'm hearing you, but I don't agree with, you know, the suggestion that you're making. And here are the reasons why, you know, those are the types of things where, you know, getting on the other side of both the fear as well as the sort of conflictual nature of the interaction, you know, I think it has to be tied to really putting a stake in the ground demanding that, you know, these are going to be some of those ways that We interact with each other. So, you know, part of what we've we've done in teams that I've led in the past is creating working agreements. And this is, you know, something that you do when you really go through the formation of a team. But as you and I have talked about, you know, in prior episodes, teams are constantly in flux, right? You've got someone who's being promoted out, you got someone who's being promoted in, you've got someone who's, you know, moving on, you know, for whatever reason, then leaving your team, you've got, you know, dynamics that, that require you to make some changes in your team. And so teams are constantly in flux. And so establishing working agreements, to me isn't just something that's a one and done. It's, you know, something that you need to revisit on a periodic basis in the end to make sure that, you know, these are still things that we're in agreement with, right. Here. Here's some ideas that we're putting forward and we memorialize these and, you know, for me with other team members that I've helped to lead, you know, we print out those working agreements, and everyone's got them pegged, you know, on their pegboard next to their desk. So there's, there's no question. And, you know, so part of what that does is it creates a culture where there is an expectation of everyone to carry a piece of the responsibility. Right? Right. These are the values that we have sought to establish within this team, and we're going to adhere to those things. It's not just about doublespeak, where we're going to get in and, you know, we're going to review these things and everyone gets a fist of five. And, you know, next thing is we've got people who are, you know, out violating their social contract because they never really bought into it in the first place. You know, it's, it's the kind of thing where you, you want to make sure that it's really baked into, you know, the culture that you're trying to cultivate. And help be a part of as a leader.

Nick Lozano  29:03
Now get it and as a leader, you're the one fostering that environment, right? You have to be the one, you know that that creates that environment of trust, where everyone can trust each other. Maybe if you come on to a new team and the environments kind of hostile initially, because the leader, you know, the previous leader, put it in a bad state. It's going to be rough going at first, but as long as people understand that they can trust you and you care about them, and their ideas as individuals, the trust can be built fairly quickly. And you know, in my past experience, it's really easy to walk into a room and say, Hey, guys, sorry What happened, you know, with your last boss, but you know, I'm happy to be here working with you guys. Right? instead of walking and say, you know, Hey, I heard what happened last time. I'm the boss here now. And that stuff's gonna happen on my watch. You know, we're here to work or not here to play, the things are going to get done. And you know, it's two totally different delivery tones were the first one people are more accepting. They're like, Hey, you know, this guy's here, he's here to work with us. He's here, one of us, where the other person's being authoritarian, saying none of this is going to happen, it's just going to make the problem worse. And, you know, to me, trusting Karen are very intertwined. If you care for your people, and they understand that you care for them, the trust will come we can have tough conversations when when you know that I care about you, as an individual, as a team member of this team that I value your opinion. We we can talk about, you know, things were might get heated but but you know, in the end, that, that I care about you and it's just us discussing an idea or a thought being passionate about our conversation.

Brian Comerford  30:56
Yeah, it was great insights. And, you know, I think You know, another component of it is, you know, we talked a little bit about creating a culture where you can speak honestly and freely and also being for each other. Right. That's one that that has continued to resonate with me is being able to be for each other. And sometimes it's just required to ask that question, right? Are you really being for someone? So, when I hear you talk like this, and, you know, I think, you know, part of that consistency between word and deed, include something that I heard you alluding to, you know, related to transparency, right, we hear that we hear that term a lot. And it's just one of those buzz terms that gets thrown out there a lot that it to the degree where I feel like you know, it's sort of lost its, you know, magnetism. But to me, transparency is I'm, I'm going to be very open with you about what my expectations are. My actions are, and you know, you're in performance reviews, I think is one of those good examples where if I have a direct report, who also has direct reports, I want to be as transparent as possible through the process and say, Hey, listen, I want to let you know that I'm going to seek some feedback from your direct reports. Because I want to get some of their perspective as well on, you know, what your performance has been. I don't just want to have this top down view of the whole thing. I want to have a little bit of a bottoms up kind of approach to it. But rather than just, you know, sneaking around and scheduling private appointments on your calendar, your direct reports subordinates, and then you know, that's one of those things that starts the rumor mill and it's like, oh, my gosh, what's going on? What's What's he up to now? You know, really being for each other by being straightforward with that transparency, bringing it out front and just saying, look, you know, I don't want you to be worried about this. action. I mean, maybe there is a reason for you to be. But I'm just seeking some feedback, I want to be able to get some additional perspective. here's, here's my plan on what I intend to do just wanted you to be aware that it was going on. That just immediately to me creates a lot more harmony around the trust that you have in the workplace, versus, you know, presuming that someone may understand what your 10 is, and so you never disclose to them what it is that you're doing, or even worse, not trusting that they have, you know, the reliability in their own integrity, where you could disclose that information openly. And you know, not have it come back to bite you.

Nick Lozano  33:52
Well, if you're worried in that situation, then, you know, you as a leader have probably already seen that in action. You know you've already seen the reason why that person would be worried but that goes back to holding you're talking about communication right transparency because if you do that you know bottom up performance review with their direct reports and the first thing that that person you know that you're doing the performance review on my think oh man this guy's trying to hire one of the people under me to replace me you don't have transparency i mean you know that maybe that's not the situation all you're still in the bottom up reporting units are holding don't assume that people know what your intentions are. If you're not transparent and you don't speak with them they're going to gossip and when people have time to you know make up things in their mind they're never get you know, that person is gonna think oh, he's gonna fire me and maybe it's one of your star team players and you have you know, succession plan for them to come in and, and promote, promote them into your role when you get moved up. If you go and do that behind their back the form to you from the bottom up, don't tell him what you're into are maybe they're looking for a job because they think you're trying to replace them with somebody who's slowed

Brian Comerford  35:03
up.

Nick Lozano  35:06
But, you know, that goes back to the, you know, just being transparent, having conversations with your people. I've never been a huge fan of performance reviews. Just because people treat them as a year in thing, right? You know, go talk to anybody about what their goals are, what they plan to do in their jobs, what their personal goals are, what their, you know, life goals are anything until the end of the year. And that's way too long to talk to anybody about anything. You should be having these conversations a year long, you could be helping those people grow throughout the whole year. And that's in turn that's going to help you know your team perform better. You know, they'll help them pull the team up. You know, I'm just not a huge fan of performance reviews. I guess what I'm getting at that. I hate those things. I don't care what method is the five words or starbase questions or whatever. I just hate them all. Because Like I said, Everyone treats it as a year end thing that they have to do. And it's always pegged to, you know, bonuses or salary compensation. And that's not really, you know, things that should be paid to a review, in my opinion.

Brian Comerford  36:15
Well, it's interesting, because, you know, one of those things to me is, you know, back to that Five Dysfunctions of a team model, you know, when you have avoidance of accountability, right, as a leader, to me, you know, I find it kind of quaint, when I hear discussions around, you know, we're going to develop, you know, a performance management culture, right. And here are the things that really factor into, you know, what can make that possible. You know, to me, those, they're just such basic common principles of leadership, be having ongoing conversations with people, you know, I mean, that is your performance review right there. It's it's happening on a routine basis. Sometimes it's happening multiple times a day, right? Because you've set some expectations of what you believe outcomes should be. Right? And then you're actually confronting issues as they happen so that, you know, you're remaining, you're holding yourself as a leader accountable, but you're also holding your people accountable, to be able to deliver on those outcomes. If all of those things are happening on a routine basis, then, you know, like you I mean, I just don't feel the need for a performance review. Know, in most cases, I think it's one of those things where it's a check the box activity, you know, for your salary administration, if you know, that's something that you do on an annual annual basis. But otherwise, if, you know if you're really leading from a performance management perspective, you're just engaged.

Nick Lozano  37:57
Yep. Your present Yeah, I started a performance reviews. I've got a, you know, it's, it's, it's just one of those things where people use it as a way to hold things over over people's head. You know, and if you're a leader and you're only, you know, communicating with your people one time a year, what their goals are, you're failing them as a leader. You know, you don't wait to get to the end of the year, when you have people who are counting on money, or some type of bonus or pay raises to only talk to them at the end of the year, um, you're failing them, right? You're not doing your service as a leader to be serving them. And that goes back to this same thing. As soon as the sooner you realize that you work for your people, and not the other way around. So much better is your job going to be they're going to make things easier for you. You know, you take care of your people. They'll take care of your customers, your clients, you know, you know, your factory workers, whatever you want, whatever business you're in, if you take care of your people, the rest of everything else will take care of itself. They'll take care of the business. You know, they'll they'll, you know, keep, you know, everything in check. You don't have to walk around. And, you know, watch what people are doing. They'll self govern themselves. I mean, I've been on great teams before, I never had check with anybody was doing because I knew that the team was just going to take care of it themselves. Right? I didn't have to be on top of team members check where they were on their peer reviews for delivering code because they were being accountable to themselves. They knew I was there to be part of the team. I was there to help them with anything they needed. And by the end, they just got stuff done. I didn't have to check on them. It allowed me to do my job and they police themselves.

Brian Comerford  39:54
Well, the good news is Nick, that's a functional team.

Nick Lozano  40:01
Well, it goes back to Napoleon's old saying, you know, there's no bad soldiers, there's only bad generals. So if you've got a dysfunctional team, you know, you need to look in the mirror. Because the problems probably not the team. The problems probably with yourself, and that's, that's a tough thing to hear. But, you know, if your team's dysfunctional, you know, you gotta look at the person in the mirror. Well, and with

Brian Comerford  40:23
that, you know, we've mentioned a couple of titles already. Are there other books that you feel like, contribute to helping to shape that leadership mindset to be able to be equipped to really help cultivate a trusting environment?

Nick Lozano  40:39
Yeah, I would go, you know, Simon Sinek. Start with why. You know, it doesn't go over a ton about trust, but it's a great leadership book, just in general. And when you stop and you look back at the, the why you're doing things or why you are where you are. It's a good starting point for building trust, right. It helps you under Why you're doing things or why leadership is doing this or why even you're doing something yourself that can help, you know, keep that open communication. And you know, the other one for me be creativity, Inc. Right? They talk a lot about trust. And that one at KML talks about, you know, his brain trust and, you know, the people at Pixar reviewing movies and even letting the janitor comment and comment on whether this character thinks it feels real that a character would do this. You know, that's, that's a relationship of trust, right? They trust their people to come in and give them feedback now and with their brain trust ideas, everyone could come in and give the director feedback. Does the director have to take it? No, but they trust each other enough to say, Hey, you know, is it believable that a character would do this? And does that feel human? You know, should you be doing x, y, z? Those are those are the two for me that come off the top of my head.

Brian Comerford  41:55
What about your Well, I would go back to that Renee brown book. braving the wilderness. And you know, one thing that we didn't touch on was the V in her acronym. And, and that's for vault. And it was one that, you know, when I, when I read that book, initially, you know, it took a little bit of time for me to wrap my mind around, you know where she was coming from with that. But the idea that, you know, you take information that is provided to you, and you curate it with a sense of confidentiality, right, that's, that's like putting it in a vault like in a safe where people know that they can come to you with something. And as soon as they've shared something, you know, whether or not they've asked for it to be held in confidence. The fact that they know that they can come to you, and they're not hearing you know, this chatter, you know, from others in the team or your work environment. Where really they know that, you know, hey, I told my leader this Now all of a sudden, it's coming back, you know, and it's like a game of telephone right now, all this stuff's been misconstrued, and oh my gosh, I can't trust that person any longer because, you know, I told them something in confidence, it hasn't been held in confidence. And you know, that's the last time I'm going to make that kind of mistake. So that's an area that you know, again, you know, holding yourself accountable. And really, you know, back to your comments on caring neck, being able to, you know, really walk in someone else's shoes, and have an understanding of where they're coming from. And, you know, having that drive your sense of empathy around whether or not the information that was just shared with you is something that you should hold in the vault.

Nick Lozano  43:47
Yeah, I would think as soon as you hear somebody say, Hey, did you hear just walk away so now I don't ever want to know that because most gossip is hearsay anyways. So me know and I think That's even her recommendation in that book, if I'm not mistaken, because she goes back and talks about some relationship she had with a friend. And that's when she realized the vault was the only reason she was having had a relationship with her was to gossip. So there was nothing positive coming out of that conversation. Right. But, you know, respect transparency and trust, and we use a ton of big words today, like empathy and all that. But I think for me, you know, trust comes down to caring, just care about your people, and genuinely care about them. Don't be fake about it, you know.

Brian Comerford  44:35
And for me, all the factors that we've talked about, you know, create that foundation of what truly is a functional workplace. If, if there is an absence of trust, there's a lot of work to do. And to your point, Nick, it's like a crumpled piece of paper, right? It's going to be very difficult to smooth that out. You can throw all the HR interventions added that you want, but it's it's it's Something that has to be foundationally. Correct. And it has to be cared for. Right? Yep. has to be curated.

Nick Lozano  45:08
Now I totally get it and I think with that, Brian, that's probably a good spot to wrap it up. Hmm.

Brian Comerford  45:15
Alright, appreciate it. Thank you, Nick.

About Nick Lozano

Co-host of the > Lead.exe_ Podcast and owner/consultant at CornerStack, LLC.

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