I believe that every person should function in safe space; free from boundary intrusions, and free from a reliance on other people for happiness.  ~rh

Mutual trust and respect are the building blocks of success in every organization. Without these two constructs, organizations will erode internally, despite the façade of business as usual.

Starting at the smallest organization, marriage, this principle is true. You probably know someone who is divorced but still loves their ex spouse. The irreconcilable differences most likely stemmed from a lack of mutual trust and respect.

Parenting shares a similar fate. When children become peer-centric, they do so at the expense of their parent’s trust. Wayward children will all confirm that they still love their parents, but the main ingredients missing in their relationships are mutual trust and respect. And what parent doesn’t love their offspring. Is the same true for trust and respect?

Researchers have found that 75% of employees report that the worst part of their day is their immediate supervisor. Seventy-five percent of employees also report that they don’t trust their boss. Not to be outdone, when surveyed, 75% of managers indicate that they don’t trust each other.

For all the research available, almost all of it can be whittled down to the social skills of developing mutual trust and respect. Whether at home or at work, these principles are universal and applicable.

Assuming you want to learn specific skills to build an executive team, make more friends, get a better job, handle the bully boss, or improve your relationships at home, you can start immediately by taking a complimentary 3-day course on Emotional Intelligence. This is another way of saying social skills.

People do business with you because they trust and respect you. They believe what you believe and the space is safe.

Organizational cultures that are not safe are full of people inserting their unsolicited opinions and advice into the conversation space. The space is usually full of criticism, judging, sarcasm, and relating. There is no safety around people who behave in this manner. The same is true at home and with friends.

Leadership teams and employees are compromised when trust is absent. No amount of persuading or manipulating is going to overcome the fear and hesitation of the team members if the culture is not safe or there is a rogue on the team.

Fear of retribution, judging, mocking, criticizing, or bullying will shut down production. Research indicates that our organizations are ripe with employee fear. It is interesting to note that despite increased attention and research incivility, bullying, and harassment continue to escalate. There are virtually no organizations free from workplace bullying today and the associated costs equal approximately 2x the salary of each target and witness.

Trust is king and the currency of business today. The day of the micro manager with positional power is waning. Success at work or home is based on social skills that create a safe space for all to flourish.

Richard Himmer, EQ Micro Skills

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I learned that building trust and respect are key to strong relationships. Relating isn’t enough—you need to listen and seek to understand the other person better.
This class helped me to be aware of changes that I needed to make in order to become better at conversing with others and having deeper relationships.
Today has been great for me because I’m realizing that my actions and choice of words can make a situation better or worse and it is what I choose, not what others do.
This class helped me to be aware of changes that I needed to make in order to become better at conversing with others and having deeper relationships.
New empathy to previous judgment! In the past it has angered or bothered me to see people talk in church or public, when I know how they are in their home or business settings.
This class helped me to be aware of changes that I needed to make in order to become better at conversing with others and having deeper relationships.
Having worked on this for some time, I am fascinated by what can be achieved when this type of communication is put to use. 
Shame vs. Blame was a good insight because knowing you can change blame and learn will help with daily mistakes.
My greatest insight today has been that I need to practice being self-aware. I feel that if I can start being self-aware, I will have better communication.
The difference between seeking agreement and seeking understanding. I’d rather seek understanding.
The Me Pyramid. It’s a little scary thinking of this and not seeking to get people to like me. It’s all tied in.
I want to get good at this. I’m thinking of people in my wife’s family. I don’t think they trust me.
Understanding vs. Agreement. This is huge. I think that is life changing if I can figure out how to make it work.
The notion of agreement. Wanting someone to agree with me. It’s like beating my head against the wall.
The lesson of love to trust to intimacy. I’m seeing some things behind the scenes and understanding them.
I am thrilled to be doing this. This is the missing ingredient of what I’m doing with people.
My tone of voice. Silence for 4 seconds is necessary for me to clear my head.
Trust vs. Love, there is a difference.

Click here to learn more about EQ Micro Skills.

Is there a solution?

Employees cannot move to a productive level when the majority of their day is spent in negative self-talk or conflict avoidance as they dodge the department bully. The irony is that most of them are unaware they are creating the victim vs. villain story with their supervisor, organization, spouse, or coworker. This is a micro approach to a macro problem.

Organizational facts to consider:

  • 75% of employees indicate that the number one cause of anxiety is their immediate supervisor.
  • Bullying is affecting up to 38% of the work force and witnesses of bullying experience a greater impact on their production than the actual target.
  • 50% of a target’s day is spent avoiding the bully.
  • 75% of managers (North American organizations) are deemed socially incompetent for their positions, despite an increase in IQ and technical skills.
  • Most managers are promoted based on their technical skills and not for their leadership skills.
  • Bullying increases absenteeism, turnover, insurance premiums, commitment, and trust and costs Fortune 500 companies over $16 billion annually.

Self-help books and organizational consultants often resort to a strategic approach to behavior or culture change. Approximately 99% of information gleaned from a self-help book does not transfer to behavior. A strategy is what you want to achieve. Here is a list of strategies:

  • Develop trust between managers and employees
  • Increase employee motivation
  • Listen more and talk less
  • Stop arguing with my spouse
  • Stop yelling at the children

A motivational approach to the strategy is really a series of platitudes couched into an emotionally laden series of stories or anecdotal experiences. There is no transformation and very little changes after the shelf life of the experience expires.

EQ Micro Skills goes beyond the conventional approach to tactics, and gets to the micro skill that impacts the necessary behavior change. Like a trim tab on the ship’s rudder, micro skills are the real change agents in the world of transformation.

Here is an example using strategy, tactic, and micro skill.



Micro Skill



Specific Behavior

Develop greater trust in the organization Teach individual leaders the micro skills of emotional intelligence For the next 24 hours observe 5 discussions. Journal your observations of any unsolicited opinions and the impact on those within the conversation.

There are two conversations each of us must master. The first is the self-talk (intrapersonal) that never stops. It’s the negative interpretation of an event or comment that lacks full clarity, so the brain fills in the gaps with negative talk instead of questioning all assumptions and neutrally approaching the situation without inserting biased or non-factual assumptions.

The second conversation is with others (interpersonal). Social conversations are often the results of self-talking conversations that happened earlier. The corporate world promotes managers and executives based on their technical skills and their IQ. The disconnect is that they are promoted based on a criteria unrelated to their new position.

Leaders, executives, and trainers need social skills first and technical skills second. Have you ever taken a math class from a math genius? How did that go? A math genius does not understand why you don’t get it. This is called “The Curse of Knowledge.” It all makes sense to them and without any effort in the process. No organization can afford to hire math geniuses to run their departments if the brainiacs cannot communicate the steps necessary to solve the equations.

If you are ready to learn more, sign up for the complimentary course and consider reading or listening to my book, Listen & Lead: The Micro Skills of a Leader. You can view all of the available products and training by visiting the store as well.