Welcome to This Book is My Jam, a semi-regular feature in which I talk about a book I recently read and really loved. I read books written for kids, teens, and adults, so it could be aimed at any age group.
This is a surprise entry into “This Book is My Jam.” Because it’s a management book that I had to read for my CALLI program (management and self help books are usually anything but my jam–I read them for good information, but I don’t usually expect to be moved by them). Because the title is (sorry to the author) kind of silly. Because I just honestly didn’t expect to like it, and wasn’t excited about reading it. And then I read it, and really liked it!
The basic premise of Trustology: The Art and Science of Leading High-Trust Teams is that managers need to be better about trusting their team. According to Fagerlin, trusting your team leads to happier employees, more productivity, and more money for the business. Of course, in libraries we aren’t about profit, but who wouldn’t want more productivity and a happier work environment? The book is divided into 3 sections. Here’s a brief rundown of what those sections talk about:
Trustology 101: Trust’s Big Lie. This section talks about the fact that the way we think about trust isn’t correct. We think of it as something to be earned, not something to be given freely. The author says we need to think of trust as something that can only be given–and only you, individually, have the power of giving trust. If you want to have a high trust team, you have to choose to trust your people and keep making that choice day after day. Fagerlin talks about how often we don’t give people the benefit of the doubt or chance to tell their side of the story when breakdowns in communication happen. If we do that, he says, we hold people hostage to our own assumptions of their behavior. That means trust can’t happen.
Trustology 201: Building Trust With Others. This section talks about how leaders have a responsibility to both give and earn trust. He calls this the “leader’s contradiction.” He also talks about the “trust stool” and how when we are having trouble trusting someone, it boils down to one of three factors: integrity, competence, and/or compassion. If you have trust issues with a person, examine which leg of the stool is weak and work on that one.
Trustology 301: Leading High Trust Teams. This section is about how managers can put high trust into practice and gives assessments and ways of working on trust within your work team. He gives lots of practical tools that managers can use to help guide their teams to a more trusting environment.
Why I liked this book: I realized while reading that this book really fits with my own personal style and ethos. I want to trust people. I personally love it when I feel like my managers trust me to do my own thing and know that I will do it well. If I’m in a leadership role, this is the kind of leader I want to be. There were many actionable things that I could take from this book. One of the biggest things that Fagerlin talks about over and over again is presuming positive intent. Assume people are coming from a good place. And then give them the chance to explain their perspective. I liked this idea so much that I made it part of my 2015 I Resolve to Rock goals.
All in all, Trustology gave me a great framework for assessing both my professional and personal life. It made me think a lot about trust, who I trust, and where I could work on trust in my life. While it is mainly geared at managers (which made the 3rd section slightly less helpful to me than the first two), I still gained a lot from reading this. I heavily marked my book up and plan on re-reading it and recommending it to lots of people in my life.