Playing from the Heart

Despite my advice about the importance of trust in organizations, I frequently work with clients who are having trouble getting along with a someone. Often this person is a teammate in some way: A sports teammate, a business teammate, a family teammate. Typically, one of the major issues is a problem in communication.

As is usually the case when people are in conflict, there is a difference of opinion, and anger, hurt, and mistrust exists. My clients have usually come a good way in understanding that their anger and hurt is only coming from their own thought-feeling connection, but they are often still lost about how to communicate with someone who doesn’t seem to be as invested in building in a trusting culture.

My suggestion is always the same. You should make plays from the heart.

What does it mean to make plays from the heart? Making plays from the heart is acting (communicating, supporting, helping, etc.) in a way that shows love, compassion, or care for others.  I find that this guideline almost always results in modeling the behavior you want to see from others. I also find that people are at their best in almost any endeavor when acting from love. It’s essentially the emotion that allows the true you to be expressed unfiltered.

If you act from blocked thinking and negative emotions, you aren’t going to be playing from the heart, and everyone around you will see someone other than the real you. To be at your best, understand than any negative feelings are only coming from your thinking, and if you don’t muddy your thoughts with blame and judgement, those feelings will change when your thoughts eventually and inevitably clear. From this clarity, you can then take action, such as communicating from the heart, sending a message that represents the true you.

Now, this certainly doesn’t mean you should allow yourself to get walked on or trampled. It simply means that if you act from the heart, from the most loving, compassionate, caring position you can muster, you are going to build trusting relationships with others, even when you are delivering difficult news, even when you are explaining why you do not trust them.

If you keep making plays from the heart and pointing in the direction of trust, it will be built within your culture, and your culture will thrive.

The Importance of Trust in Cultures

Yesterday I wrote about the importance of implied cultures (to read yesterday’s article, click here: The Importance of Implied Culture). Today, I want to touch upon the importance of implied trust within cultures.

If you are a regular reader of my columns, you understand my multiple reasons for cautioning against buying into the illusion of control (to read more about illusions of control, click here: Be Aware). Most importantly, it stifles freedom and creativity.

In a culture of two or more, trust and control are not compatible. Why is this the case? Consider human relationships. When you feel the need to control another person (please note, true control is an illusion, but some people buy into the illusion), it is likely because you do not trust them. If you trust them, there is no felt need to control them, and there are no actions taken to control them, actions that are often taken to communicate a lack of trust.

Lack of trust and attempts to control can only divert attention and effort that is required to perform at one’s best. To use a football analogy, how good can a quarterback be if he constantly caught up in mistrust of blocking and receiving? Certainly adjustments are needed, but trust in others’ abilities to perform their roles is necessary for maximum attention to one’s own job duties. Without trust, the system will perform less than optimally when everyone – except the leader – performs their duties to their maximum potential. When the leader fails, what happens to making the play? To continue with our football analogy, if a quarterback changes his footwork or throws in anticipation of mistakes that do not occur, the play will break down due to a lack of sequence, timing, or positioning.

If you hang onto the idea that you need to control another’s thoughts, feelings, or actions (or even if you hang onto the illusion that you can control another’s thoughts, feelings, or actions), you will never fully trust them, and you will constantly spin your wheels seeking a control that you will never realize. This will also probably be experienced as frustration and confusion for the other person (or more than one person), and your organization will become bogged down in frustration and confusion.

Thus, attempts to control lead to frustration and confusion and tend to communicate a lack of trust. Without trust, you will stifle the freedom of your organization. Without trust, you will never experience the insight and exponential growth that only results from freedom to explore the limits of what is possible.

You might be thinking, but trust needs to be earned, and isn’t it true that people can prove themselves to be untrustworthy? Absolutely, and this is why it is so important to be trustworthy if you are devoted to the cause of your organization. Any lack of trust threatens to undermine possibility and progress and is likely to bring more attempts to control into play. However, keep in mind that the first show of mistrust is an attempt to control in the first place.

Trust in others, and build pathways for them to show their worth. If they fail, continue to show trust in their ability to improve. This is the path to a great culture.