Trust and Cockroaches

by Linda Henman, Ph.D.

It’s official. The Public Policy Polling survey just discovered that Congress has an approval rating of 9%. According to the research, Congress is now less popular than root canals and Trust and Cockroachescockroaches. On the bright side, they beat out ebola virus and gonorrhea. Apparently, we prefer large, disgusting bugs to the august body of leaders we’ve sent to Washington, but we would still rather put up with them than contract a social disease—but not by much. I’m not a political science aficionado, but as someone brilliant once said, “That just ain’t right.”

Obviously, we’ve lost trust. No longer do we feel our elected officials look out for our best interest, and we don’t think they have committed themselves to doing the right thing—only the politically strategic thing.

Business leaders do well when they read and heed. 2013 promises to bring enormous changes to companies around the world. Mention the word “change,” however, and a large number of people will react with horror, anger, or angst. These people are members of a not-so-elite group known as the chronically unraveled. Pharmacies devote entire aisles of aids for these change phobics.

These changes will usher in large numbers of decisions—sometimes unpopular decisions. How can leaders ensure continued support of these necessary decisions when they know the changes will challenge people? One word: Trust.

With good reason, we don’t automatically link this word to Congress. They have failed what I call the Two-Question Litmus Test of Trust:

1. Do you care about me?

2. Do you continually commit to doing the right thing?

Soldiers in battle and policemen in major cities daily put themselves in harm’s way because, when they think about their leaders, they can answer “yes” to these questions. Business leaders who give their employees reason to do the same will find unfailing loyalty among those in their chain of command. Those that don’t will find that employees regard them as less popular than some pest species.

If you found these tips from Linda Henman, Ph.D. of value and are a PMP looking to earn PMI PDUs, you might be interested in her self-paced, downloadable courses at


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