The Course of Miracles says: “Seek not to change the world, but choose to change your mind about the world.”  Although I’m trying to make this my new theme song rather than “Here Comes the Judge”, I will take the focus of this blog in another direction then my own mind.

One of our favorite activities is to help small company teams create a shared vision and a culture of collaboration and engagement. Before we begin the process, it is not uncommon for us to hear that there is a lack of trust among the team or the leadership team.

What is interesting is that many times we notice that there is also an obvious feeling of affection among the team members. In small companies it is not uncommon for the team to have been together for many years. In many cases, they actually think of themselves as family. As in some families, affection is tempered by memories of long ago hurts that can translate into a lack of trust. This then leads to a dysfunctional workplace. Our friend, Rich, describes this phenomena as a group of likeable, talented people who come together to form a dysfunctional organization.

Of course, sometimes things do happen between two co-workers that create a lack of trust. However, many times it’s a problem of perception. Something was said or done in the past that has created doubt about the trustworthiness of a co-worker. Then all future thought, communication and behavior are filtered through the belief that she/he can’t be trusted.

That’s the real problem of lack of trust – the individual team member focuses too much energy draining attention on constantly looking for evidence to support this belief. While this focus certainly inhibits successful team actions, its biggest impact is on the energy of individual. No one can operate effectively if lack of trust thinking has him or her feeling fearful, anxious, resentful, or competitive.

If you are in a situation where you are feeling a lessened level of trust in another team member, the first question to ask is “Is it real or imagined?” Shift your focus to curiosity. What is the real evidence of the person’s untrustworthiness? Did it come from something that was said or done? Or, did it come from your own thoughts of fear, doubt, resistance or defiance?

Better yet, if you are choosing to change your mind about this perception, where’s the evidence of trustworthiness? What are examples of the other person being accountable, taking values based actions, exhibiting honesty and creating safety for other team members. Asking these questions immediately begins to shift your energy to being more positive, thoughtful, and effective.

Your number one job as a leader (and you ARE a leader) is to always bring a positive, energizing frame of mind into the workplace. This is critical for your own personal aliveness as well as the aliveness and functionality of your teammates.

Choosing to change my perception,