Trust building exercises

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Tessa K
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Trust building exercises

Post by Tessa K » Wed Mar 23, 2022 3:04 pm

Is there any point to trust-building exercises that many companies make their employees do?

We all know what's expected of us and want to be seen to be trustworthy.

For example, the exercise where one person falls back and another catches them. I've had bosses and colleagues I would happily let fall but would have dutifully caught them.

Do they really change the way people behave towards or feel about co-workers once they're back in the workplace?

The same goes for the exercise where people have to collaborate to achieve a goal.

Is there any solid research behind these exercises or is it just corporate woo?

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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by IvanV » Wed Mar 23, 2022 5:27 pm

There does seem to be some evidence it works, in a general sense. Wikipedia article on team-building cites this meta-analysis.

I think suspicions tend to attach to specific games, such as the one you mention. I think its the kind of thing a few funtime people set themselves up as a provider without any real knowledge of Human Factors, as you might call it - that was the journal the above piece was in. And there are various "traditional" games such as the notorious example you cite. (I used to work with human factors experts.)

I've been sent to a lot of them over the years, and I think I rarely gained something from them. Occasionally there was something. And maybe that's a feature of individual neuro-diversities, tham some of us might have. Maybe in such cases standard methods don't work at all, or are counter-productive.

The thinking that produces such days where I currently work is that the company wants to give us a "fun" day, but also to have some corporate benefit. I wonder whether they are deluding themselves about how much corporate benefit comes from them. At the last one we had a 2 hour session on mental health issues - not a typical corporate team-building thing - which I found both educational and valuable, but some people found rather difficult to cope with.

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Trinucleus
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Trinucleus » Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:45 am

The ones where you do tasks can be good for seeing how you work together. I once did one that involved some calculations. A colleague came up with the correct answer, but I didn't believe her until I'd come up with the same answer. That says something about my ability to trust people!

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Tessa K
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Tessa K » Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:59 am

Trinucleus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:45 am
The ones where you do tasks can be good for seeing how you work together. I once did one that involved some calculations. A colleague came up with the correct answer, but I didn't believe her until I'd come up with the same answer. That says something about my ability to trust people!
Wouldn't a good manager know that already?

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Trinucleus
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Trinucleus » Thu Mar 31, 2022 11:12 am

Tessa K wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:59 am
Trinucleus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:45 am
The ones where you do tasks can be good for seeing how you work together. I once did one that involved some calculations. A colleague came up with the correct answer, but I didn't believe her until I'd come up with the same answer. That says something about my ability to trust people!
Wouldn't a good manager know that already?
Yes, but they don't need to do the exercises...

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Tessa K
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Tessa K » Thu Mar 31, 2022 11:19 am

Trinucleus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 11:12 am
Tessa K wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:59 am
Trinucleus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:45 am
The ones where you do tasks can be good for seeing how you work together. I once did one that involved some calculations. A colleague came up with the correct answer, but I didn't believe her until I'd come up with the same answer. That says something about my ability to trust people!
Wouldn't a good manager know that already?
Yes, but they don't need to do the exercises...
Some of the managers I've had really did

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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by KAJ » Thu Mar 31, 2022 3:07 pm

Trinucleus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:45 am
The ones where you do tasks can be good for seeing how you work together. I once did one that involved some calculations. A colleague came up with the correct answer, but I didn't believe her until I'd come up with the same answer. That says something about my ability to trust people!
Many years ago a person I managed gave me a maths paper to review/sign off before publication. Looking at the deriving of an equation I asked "How did you get from that line to that?" which was answered with a flood of tears and "Don't you trust me?". I confess to being nonplussed - I didn't see how trust came into maths.

Contrariwise, many years before that a colleague asked me how to do the calculations for method of standard additions. As was my wont I worked it out from first principles in front of him. He said, "That's not what you told me last time!" and showed me my handwritten notes. I said, "That's obviously wrong", he said "I thought so at the time, but didn't think you'd be wrong". :shock:

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Tessa K
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Tessa K » Thu Mar 31, 2022 3:30 pm

KAJ wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 3:07 pm
Trinucleus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 9:45 am
The ones where you do tasks can be good for seeing how you work together. I once did one that involved some calculations. A colleague came up with the correct answer, but I didn't believe her until I'd come up with the same answer. That says something about my ability to trust people!
Many years ago a person I managed gave me a maths paper to review/sign off before publication. Looking at the deriving of an equation I asked "How did you get from that line to that?" which was answered with a flood of tears and "Don't you trust me?". I confess to being nonplussed - I didn't see how trust came into maths.

Contrariwise, many years before that a colleague asked me how to do the calculations for method of standard additions. As was my wont I worked it out from first principles in front of him. He said, "That's not what you told me last time!" and showed me my handwritten notes. I said, "That's obviously wrong", he said "I thought so at the time, but didn't think you'd be wrong". :shock:
I did use the words grandmother, suck and eggs to a friend last night.

Correcting or double checking works best if it's framed as collaboration rather than a trust issue.

I used to have to proofread a lot of text and never minded letting someone else do it after. We all miss things now and then. It was better to do that than to incur the wrath of the boss (especially if any mistake was his, he was like that).

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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by IvanV » Thu Mar 31, 2022 3:55 pm

Blind acceptance and trust are not the same thing. There are problems on both giving and receiving sides in thinking it is.

Trust, like respect, is earned or developed, not demanded or blindly given. There are again problems on on both sides in thinking it can be otherwise.

Most of the examples above do not amount to a failure of trust, they amount to a misunderstanding of it.

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Sciolus
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Sciolus » Thu Mar 31, 2022 7:45 pm

There is a flaw in the English language, in that there is only a single word for two very different and orthogonal concepts:
- trust in someone's intentions and willingness;
- trust in someone's ability and competence.

In a professional setting, why would you encourage people to trust others' ability? If Penny had trusted me to get that report to her by lunchtime today so she had plenty of time to check it before tomorrow, she'd have spent this afternoon twiddling her thumbs. I'm not sure it's always a good idea to trust others' intentions in the workplace either.

Trust but verify. (Apparently that's an old Russian proverb; in the original, it rhymes, which makes it truer. Or am I making that up?)

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Tessa K
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Re: Trust building exercises

Post by Tessa K » Thu Mar 31, 2022 8:39 pm

Sciolus wrote:
Thu Mar 31, 2022 7:45 pm
There is a flaw in the English language, in that there is only a single word for two very different and orthogonal concepts:
- trust in someone's intentions and willingness;
- trust in someone's ability and competence.

In a professional setting, why would you encourage people to trust others' ability? If Penny had trusted me to get that report to her by lunchtime today so she had plenty of time to check it before tomorrow, she'd have spent this afternoon twiddling her thumbs. I'm not sure it's always a good idea to trust others' intentions in the workplace either.

Trust but verify. (Apparently that's an old Russian proverb; in the original, it rhymes, which makes it truer. Or am I making that up?)
Doveryay, no proveryay,

We also have words like confidence and reliance/reliability.

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