Live and Lead For Impact Podcast with Kirsten E Ross

EP 120: Build Trust in Relationships for Impact – Drama has no place in a life built for impact

Build Trust in Relationships for Impact

Drama has no place in a life built for impact


Do you have some lingering relationships ….that can be challenging …tear you down….cause grief…..have baggage…..long histories…

……these relationships can and DO zap our energy, steal our joy, drum up false beliefs about ourselves, and sometimes even stand in the way of achieving our dreams.

Yes, addressing relationship stuff can feel overwhelming, but often remedies are simpler than you’d think if you know how to define the right fix. That’s why I’ve designed the Relationship Renovation Roadmap  I can’t wait to show you how!

Go to to check it out!

If you’ve been listening to this podcast you already know that I spend a lot of time helping people overcome their drama in relationships.  It has no place in a life built for impact.

Often drama between people boils down to a lack of trust. You can have little or no trust for someone based on your experience with them; they’ve proven with their words or actions that they should not be trusted. Or you can lack trust because you don’t know them.

Either way, when we don’t trust someone we are more apt to assume the worst or assign mal-intent to their actions.

Of course, a history of bad behavior warrants less trust. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. In businesses and nonprofit endeavors, however, I often find that lack of trust comes from a lack of knowing. Sometimes leaders don’t give their employees or volunteers time to connect.   And this creates negative assumptions and drama!

Over the years I’ve had a unique perspective into so many relationships and can say with certainty that often these assumptions are not accurate. I would even hazard to say that rarely are the assumptions driving these negative relationships true.

When communication and connection happen, trust can build quickly. Assumptions are replaced with facts and relationships are transformed.

I worked with a group of 4 people who knew little of each other personally but had to deal with each other often to complete their work. The company called me in because the poor relationships were decreasing productivity.

I spent exactly one and a half hours with them and in that time they had many aha moments. “Oh, when you were asking me that I thought you were trying to pass your work on to me!”

“No, I’ve already tried 4 different times to get the numbers right by the time I’m asking you to clarify some things.”

“I thought you were just coming in early so that you could leave early and find things to complain about.”

“No, with the work changes I now have to come in early to get everything set up and do the inventory. I’d actually prefer not to start so early!”

On and on it went.   Gaps in fact filled in with negative presumptions quickly overcome with truth.

Each had painted a picture of the other like a paint by number gone wrong. The little assumptions all added to a perception of co-workers trying to avoid work, get each other in trouble and wreak havoc. Recent changes in roles and workflow had put them all together feeling uncertain and wary.

They needed to work together but had had no opportunity to build trust.

I am very visual so I almost always end up describing concepts with physical items.

I started using the term Trust Bucket to describe the level of trust we have with others. It’s just a nice visual.

So, an empty trust bucket means little trust.

A full trust bucket is like a full bank account of trust.

A full trust bucket and we are assuming the best of each other. If my co-worker of 10 years is late and I have assigned a full trust bucket to her I will assume she got held up. An empty trust bucket and I’m assuming the worst. “He doesn’t value my time or is disrespecting me.”

I find that people assign empty or full trust buckets to new people in different ways.

Some people tend to start new relationships with a full trust bucket.   “I will trust you unless you give me good cause not to.” At that point, they will have an empty trust bucket.

Others are more cautious and begin relationships with an empty trust bucket. “I need to see who you are first. Prove that you deserve my trust. You have to earn it. Then I will fill the trust bucket.”

If your impact requires a team of employees or volunteers it is so important to bring them together so they have an opportunity to know each other as people and fill those trust buckets!

Drama happens when trust buckets are low. As I often say, in the absence of fact, for some reason humans fill in the blanks with negative assumptions. A process falls apart and the first instinct is for employees to blame co-workers they don’t trust, “they’re just trying to make my job harder!”

Bring teams together and give them the chance to know one another and trust will develop. They will assume the best of each other instead.

So, a few thoughts and action items for you today.

  1. How full are your trust buckets with people? Do you start with a full bucket and empty with negative experiences or do you start empty and make them work their way to trust?
  2. Are there people in your life or work with empty trust buckets? Are you reaching conclusions about them out of assumption rather than fact? Are your beliefs accurate?  How can you get to know them to learn their true character?

If you are a leader, where do team members have empty trust buckets? How can you bring them together to meet, connect and build trust?

Go to to view the Relationship Renovation Roadmap Today!

EP12: I love my job, but my boss is a tyrant! What can I do?

DYD Episode 12 Show Notes

Defeat YOUR Drama:
I love my job, but my boss is a tyrant! What can I do?

Click to download the show notes for the Defeat the Drama Podcast Episode 12

DefeatYourDramaIn the Defeat Your Drama segments I will provide solutions based on the information provided. I will obviously not have full details so will provide customized strategies based on what you share. Always consider your own specific circumstances before taking any action. These are suggestions not guarantees.

If you’d like me to share customized strategies for your drama situation go to my website You can type or record your message. Use your real name or an alias for anonymity. Note that recorded or written messages may be used on the podcast.

Sarah from Oregon says…

I love my job! I know that I am making a difference. I have a lot of autonomy. My coworkers are great! We work well as a team. The drama happens when my boss comes to our location. He works in a different office about 150 miles away so I don’t see him that often, maybe once every couple of months. When I do, though, he blows in and is a complete tyrant. He treats me like I’m doing a terrible job and berates me in front of co-workers. It’s awful!! Most if not all of the stuff he yells at me about isn’t even true! He makes all of these assumptions and doesn’t give me a chance to provide the truth.

I feel like quitting every time he visits. I don’t want to leave my job. What can I do?

Let’s Defeat Your Drama Sarah!

I am so sorry that you are having this experience. Yuck!

The first thing you say is that you love your job. So, let’s see if we can make it palatable enough for you to stay with full energy and focus.

As always, we need to start by determining what is in your control. Where can you have a positive impact on the situation? Keep in mind, I am not excusing your boss’s behavior. But, you can’t control how your boss is reacting. You can only control you.

I have 3 specific strategies to try:

#1 Focus on the Message Not the Method:
Look beyond the way he is communicating and hear what he is saying. Is there any validity to the concerns he is expressing? Sometimes when someone is speaking aggressively we focus fully on how they are communicating and miss out on any nuggets that are there. If we are missing nuggets of valid information, at times, this can cause a person to get even more aggressive. Again, not saying it’s okay or that you are to blame. It’s just what can happen. If that is the case, this might be an area where you can create a positive impact.

If there are some valid concerns there try to address those. Sometimes the request they are asking for isn’t the actual fix. So, you also want to hear the message and then think about whether the fix requires doing the right things OR, is the fix communicating better. In other words, you’re doing the right things but your boss doesn’t know.

This is a distinct possibility since he spends most of his time 150 miles away from you. Is he aware of all that you are accomplishing and all that it takes to do what you do?

I have my clients ask themselves – Is this a doing issue or a communication issue?

Often the actual issue boils down to communication. A boss just isn’t aware of the though and research going into a decision or the steps taken to complete a project with accuracy. They then, inaccurately assume that the work is not right.

If you are doing the right things but he is not aware, come up with a new communication strategy that will keep him in the loop with more detail. If you are up to it, ask for his input. Let him know that you’d like to keep him up to date on your activities and ask what he feels is the best method; weekly phone call, email Excel Spreadsheet on your intranet or Google Docs.

You didn’t share the kind of work you are doing so I’m not sure how much information you would need to share.

#2 Make a Request:
I use the term “request” purposefully. Request is very non-confrontational. And that’s the feel you want to have in this second step. Think about what you need from your boss. And then lob it out there. Making a request doesn’t have a lot of emotional oomph. Just ask and don’t hold tight to a specific outcome. The goals is for your boss to feel like he has complete freedom to respond to your request or not. He actually has freedom regardless of HOW you ask, but if you can ask from a non-emotional place I believe your chances of success are higher. If you ask defensively an already aggressive person will meet you there and be defensive themselves. They’ll want to hold their position.

You don’t share what your general response is when your boss gets aggressive. I don’t know if you are walking out of the room, yelling back, defending yourself.

Schedule a time to talk to him separate from any outbursts. Share that you sense his frustration with you. Communicate that you want to understand what you can do to help him feel more confident in you. Share that you’d prefer feedback in private. Indicate that you are hoping that the increased updates from you will help him stay informed of your progress, achievements, etc….. If it feels comfortable and the relationship isn’t too adversarial aside from the outbursts, share what it feels like to be on the receiving end of his frustration. Request, calmly that he share his concerns in a way that helps you excel. Share that you love your job and want to do well. You are open to constructive feedback.

If you listen or nuggets and respond by doing things differently or upping your communication about accomplishments and this doesn’t fix the problem and your requests to have a more productive communication with him fall on deaf ears then the last resort is

#3 Give the Issue Little Focus:
If your boss has no self awareness and, thus, is unwilling to even consider changing his communication style then what is left to your control is your reaction to his outbursts.

Can you aim little of your focus there? Try not to think or worry about it in between outbursts. Focus, instead on the enjoyment you get from the work that you do. I’m not saying it is easy, but choose a reaction or non-reaction. Maybe his outbursts are ridiculously funny. Maybe it’s sad for him. Wow, to hold so much anger. Or to have the need to tear others down to help himself feel better…………….You don’t really know for sure why he is doing what he does, so why not tell yourself a story that doesn’t include you at the center. It really may have nothing to do with how he actually feels about your performance on the job. He might even feel intimidated by your accomplishments and potential.

Again, I’m not saying the behavior is okay – but there are ways to make the situation more palatable. Try these steps to see if you can find more enjoyment, or perhaps make a change in you that transforms the situation. Are you able to get to a place where you just ride out the storm?

It can’t hurt to try! These strategies may help you stay, happily, in a job you love!

If you’d like to get customized strategies for your drama situation go to to record your details or send a message.

If you enjoyed, I would really appreciate a review on iTunes and Stitcher

EP1: Defeat The Drama

Defeat the Drama Episode #1 Show Notes

Click to download the show notes for the Defeat the Drama Podcast Episode 1

What Causes Workplace Drama?

drama_masks• Drama Outside the Workplace
• Process Problems
• Moving Targets
• Unfocused Time
• Inconsistency
• Inadequate Communication
• People Problems
• Tolerating any of the Above

If you enjoyed, I would really appreciate a review on iTunes and Stitcher

Click To Apply For Your Very Own FREE Leadership Breakthrough Session With Kirsten!

Need a comprehensive program to help you defeat drama in your organization?

Join the Defeat the Drama, Delight Your Customers and Improve Your Bottom Line Boot Camp

A Surefire 7 Step System to Get your Team Doing what you Need, Loving what they Do & Directing Focus where it Should Be

You Will Learn To:

  1. Gain Clarityabout what you sell, how it should feel and why do you do what you do?
    2. Generate Actions Aligned with Business Objectives
    3. Empower Your Team to take Targeted Actionwith Tenacity
    4. Identify and Remove Barriers to Team Productivity
    5. Drive Focused Employee Correction Conversations
    6. Hire Well
    7. Establish Harmony and Productivity

Kirsten will personally walk you through the required transformation step by step via video. Each module is available 24/7 and includes an Action Guide to walk you through implementation. You will also have access to exclusive office hours with Kirsten.

Click to get your discount exclusively for Podcast listeners: