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Trust Strangers but Not Co-Workers?


Driving home the other day, a driver made an unexpected left. I jammed on the brakes to avoid a crash. After silently muttering an obscene oath and letting my adrenaline recede, I started contemplating the trust that goes into driving. 


Every time we enter a car, we are relying on total strangers to keep us safe. We expect other drivers to stay in their lanes, stop at red lights, and travel on the correct side of the road. If as little as 1% of drivers failed to follow these rules, none of us would feel (or be) safe driving. 


So, we implicitly trust other drivers.


Yet as leaders, we often fail to trust our co-workers. After asking a colleague to do an assignment, we often micromanage. We ask for constant updates, we criticize the work, and we fret about the colleague’s competency. And yet, these are people who in many cases we hired. They are people we know, and they have expertise and experience in their roles. They should have earned a level of trust (or they should no longer be employed by the company). 


Perhaps if we trust other drivers, who we do not know and have no reason to trust, we should grant our co-workers a bit more faith. Let them do the jobs assigned to them without interference. The vast majority of the time they will repay our trust with good work.


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