2 min read

Establishing a trusting relationship

In times of unprecedented uncertainty and disruption, leading with humility and authenticity is needed more than ever.

But how can we do this when we may not have the right support for ourselves?

Leaders that create trusting and safe environments know that investing the time to build strong relationships makes them more effective overall. It can be tough at the top, but having deeper relationships with individuals in your team can go a long way when challenges arise.

A simple and effective way to cultivate trust in your relationships is to take time to form a Listening Partnership. Based on Nancy Kline’s Thinking Environment®, the Listening Partnership is a brief but sublime routine to feel heard, give the gift of your attention, and deepen your understanding of each other to bring resilience to your relationship.

Agreeing the Listening Partnership

With a partner, agree to spend 10 minutes together each day (5 minutes each) to listen to each other. (The start of the day is best as it is a great way to help you clear out unwanted thoughts or blockers).

Find somewhere quiet where you both won’t be disturbed or overheard. It is preferable to be able to look at each other (so sit opposite or turn your cameras on). Then, when you are ready, use the following instructions as a guide to listen to each other.

Having a Listening Partnership

As the listener, explain the following:

“I will give you my full and undivided attention.”

“I will not interrupt you until you say you are ‘Done‘.”

“I am here just to listen, not to comment or pass judgement”

“Take your time to share what comes up, just enjoy this time to be heard”

“I will only ask 2 simple questions during this time; I will not be commenting on what you say. This time is just for you”

“I will start the clock when I ask the first question and we will stop when we get to 5 minutes”

Repeat: “To confirm, I will not say anything until you say ‘Done’.”

Now you are ready to ask the first question…

“What are your thoughts and what would you like to think about?”

When they say “I’m Done“, then you can ask the next question as many times as you need to during the 5 minutes.

“What more do you think, or feel, or want to say?”

Bringing it to your leadership team

Introducing this as an experiment to your team is a simple way to get started.

Agree on partners (or Triads if you have an odd number), and rotate your partnerships each month. This will allow you to gradually get to know all your team members, strengthen your listening muscles, and really get to appreciate those around you.

Just 10 minutes, 2-3 times a week to get started can have a significant impact on the group.

Having used this technique over a period of months with different people, I have formed some amazing relationships. You really get to learn so much about them, as you build up mutual gratitude and trust.

We would love to hear from you if you would like to know more about ‘Time to Think’ or ‘Listening Partnerships’ please get in touch.