[5 mins read]
Yesterday morning I went to our Loyal Lisbon Base with my sports shoes, jeans, and martial arts polo. I needed to leave in the afternoon for my annual instructors’ martial arts training. I spent the morning doing some individual work and checking if anyone in the Team needed some help or guidance.
I show my team my true self. Basically, I’m a sports guy that chose to have a business mission and to build a company with partners, not alone. Still, I try to merge both things. Martial Arts should be a hobby. I can’t even define clearly the word hobby. My childhood passion for Legos is reflected in my entrepreneurial experience. As a child, I had never built a Lego using instructions: I imagined (“visualized”) an outcome and after tried by myself to build it.
A key difference now is that I currently read instructions to define a standard, not to follow, but to challenge or outperform. The second key difference now is that I know I need others to believe, with me (“shared visualization”), in the outcome without showing them the instructions; they trust me, and so I can even admit to them that there are no instructions. These are the Loyal ones. They visualize, fight their way to build what they envision, and then they write the instructions so that others can follow.
A Loyal Team Member doesn’t have a second skin – the “professional” skin – he/she brings his/her true self to work. Being a Professional means that you know how to do your job (“Profession”) and how to deliver it. It doesn’t mean you need to build an additional “persona”. You can, but you don’t need to, perhaps you shouldn’t. At Loyal you don’t. You use your true self to connect with others while maintaining the requirements you need to deliver your job. No elite team was ever made with superficial connections. Go mining. Work under the surface and find gold. When you need to give your best or you need your team to support you, do you really trust in their “professional side”?
Erin Meyer in her “Culture Map” Book explains how different cultures build trust differently: Trusting by Head (cognitive trust) and/or Trusting By Heart (affective trust). “Cognitive trust is based on the confidence you feel in another person’s accomplishments, skills and reliability” and “Affective trust, on the other hand, arises from feelings of emotional closeness, empathy or friendship”. At Loyal, “Trusting by Head” is essential in the beginning (you need to trust that your colleague knows his job), but you also need to “Trust by Heart.” “Trusting by Heart” is a necessary condition for achieving a true connection between the team and extraordinary results. I have never heard about an extraordinary team that relied only in Cognitive Trust. These are just the “Ok, that’s fine” teams. Affective Trust at work brings additional challenges: you discuss more, sometimes you even reach or exceed some boundaries. Even so, we believe this is a necessary part of the process. Doesn’t a great solution or result sometimes (or all the time) arrive after a storm?
I bring my sports shoes to work when needed because my team trusts me regardless. I don’t need to prove myself to them. My sports shoes show my true self and they see it. When you need to prove yourself worthy to your team with your cufflinks, something is wrong. It could be you, and maybe you need to reflect. Or perhaps it is your team member, for not having learned your true self.