This fall a couple of my children were on sports teams where they didn’t play as much as they wanted. It spurred several beneficial discussions. What they are learning, as they get older, is that nothing is given to you. You must work for what you get. This is especially true with sports that you play in school. There is no guarantee you will get to play and teammates you think you are better than may play more than you.
This, of course, made them ask what would it take to play more. Was it more practice? Did they need to change their attitude? My answer to both of these was yes but they were not the key. The key to more playing time was trust. As you can imagine the looks on their faces was one of puzzlement. What did I mean by trust? To put it very simple for them I said “You have to earn your coaches trust. If you don’t have their trust you will never play that much.”
Trust is the forgotten ingredient with many people today. Whether it be on your sports team or in your workplace, if you don’t have the trust of the leader, you will never go very far. There are thousands of talented athletes who sit the bench sulking because they are not playing. They think because of their ability they should be on the court, but the fact of the matter is, that if the coach can’t trust you the bench is your new best friend.
The same can be said for the workplace. Many talented employees never advance, get promoted, or are asked to participate in special assignments because their boss cannot trust them. They can’t trust them to show up on time, to do the work they are assigned, or to have a willing attitude. Employers will rely on a less skilled worker they know will show up and do what’s required of them over an all-star who is always calling in sick, late, or turning in subpar work. Managers and supervisors have so many things on their plate that they don’t have time to cajole or implore an underperforming employee.
In a culture that says the boss must serve the employee and met their needs, this truth will never change. It is the worker’s responsibility to build that trust. For most people that don’t take much more effort. Just by changing your attitude or giving more attention to detail would change your supervisor’s opinion of you. Next time you feel like nothing is happening at work give some thought to whether you have your supervisor’s trust or not. Then do what is necessary to build it. It’s not his or her job to see your special talent, it’s your job to show it day in and day out.