The capacity of the human being to rise up to the occasion/need of the hour is amazing. Mind-boggling...incredible….and so forth. Necessity is the mother of invention is something that we all are familiar with. What I am alluding to here, though, is slightly different. I am referring to acts of performing to one’s full potential or even getting close to one’s full potential. When the spotlight is thrown on human beings who outdo themselves in certain situations, it goes a long way to prove that if one is really motivated and has the zeal, there is absolutely nothing on earth that can prevent her/him from doing what might seem – to others - like a sheer miracle. This feeling was strengthened in no small measure as I watched a bunch of talented kids go way beyond their own previous performances, in a singing competition. One common factor – apart from the default challenge embedded in the program - that I noticed was that the trust bestowed in them by the program hosts and judges improved the kids’ confidence by leaps and bounds.
In an organizational context, the only challenge is that the situation(s) that inspires such a performance from people may differ from person to person. Some people can do wonders if they are allowed to lead, some are happier to follow, some can change things almost overnight if they are given a complete free hand, some people can do it amidst peer pressure, some people do it just for the love of their jobs etc. I believe that almost everyone is likely to come close to a miraculous performance if they are truly trusted to do a good job and told so; time and again. And, I am talking only about one dimension of trust….that associated with competence.
T- Tell them you trust them to perform. Give them all the information and support that may be required. Leave your doors open for advice if required
R – Rest assured that they will perform – the belief has to be genuine….only then will it show up in your natural behaviour with them
U – (make sure you) Understand the task and the competence required to perform it and do target a reasonable match between the task and the person (Obviously!)
S – Stay away from the person till the deadline is reached or at least a while before the deadline is reached, in case it is critical to ensure that everything’s fine in advance
T – (post the performance) Tell them that the trust you placed in them was completely justified and you’re proud of them while at the same time not allowing them to get completely carried away.