Issue #34
#34 - The Great ̶R̶e̶s̶i̶g̶n̶a̶t̶i̶o̶n̶ ̶ Erosion of Trust at Work
September 09, 2022

What's up, everybody?

Most of us see the phrase Great Resignation and think, "Really? I haven't quit a thing."

It turns out, there's a phrase that better captures what's going on at work, and what we're experiencing there. We skirt around the word all the time, but rarely come out and say it.

Heck, even Usman and I -- writing every week about the way work is changing -- have only danced around the topic.

But today, folks? We stop shimmying and we say it:

There is an *epic* crisis of trust in the workplace right now.

Just as trust in the media, in the government, and in politicians is plummeting -- so too is trust at work.

Resignations are just a symptom. One of many:

Forced commutes, burnout, exclusion, resignations, labor shortages, toxicity, failing up, wellness bandaids, layoffs, gig work, unionization, unpaid leave, the creator economy, anti-work, "quiet quitting"...!

All symptoms of mistrust; or causes that are feeding it. (And all topics of this newsletter, of course).

The good news?

Organizations and leaders who can *foster* trust, have a massive opportunity in front of them: to seize the trust that's up for grabs and thrive in a moment like this.

So today we look through a leadership lens and use our 3 bullets to ask:

  • What does it mean to lead in a climate like this?
  • What role does trust play?
  • How do we foster trust?

At base, the question we're truly asking: whom do we choose to follow, and why do we choose to allocate our trust to them?

Thanks for reading -- and have a great week!

Aki & Usman


#Trust #Leadership

We found this such an apt, evocative description of modern leadership. It recognizes that in a world beset by accelerating change, information overload, and exponential complexity no one can have "the answers". And it highlights the awareness and vulnerability required of a leader -- and the leap of faith required of a follower.


#Trust #Leadership

We love Susan's simple "compass vs. map" analogy, but we also dig the questions it prompts us to ask:

- As an employee: what does it take to trust that someone I work for can guide me without a map?

- If I'm hiring a leader: is the candidate aware of the futility of a map?

- How do I go about assessing a leader's compass?

For us, we come back to the same key traits: humility, curiosity, courage, creativity, awareness, judgment, inclusivity, vulnerability. Call them "soft" skills if you like, but they've become the core set of leadership muscles.


#Perspective #Purpose #Meaning

Lou Holtz was a legendary coach at the University of Notre Dame. He offers a simple framework on what people look for in a leader, and it's worth pointing out how squarely 2. (care) and 3. (trust) are linked to one another. After all, why would I follow you -- into the darkness, without a map -- if I didn't trust you? And why would I trust you -- or your compass -- if I didn't believe that you cared about me?

Thanks for reading. 🙏🏻

Work moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
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