Laura Gibbs

Mutual Trust: very useful article from HBR

Blog Post created by Laura Gibbs on Jul 6, 2017

At Google+ this morning (yes, Google+ DOES still exist), a friend asked what about what online publications people pay for / are willing to pay for, and what we would subscribe to if money were no object. For me, the "if money were no object" answer would be Harvard Business Review. Thank goodness they allow 8 free articles every month, and I use up my quota every month, and many of my students do also; I'm always recommending articles I find there about personal and professional growth, time management, goal-setting, giving and receiving feedback, etc. etc. I see HBR as being about human potential in the broadest possible sense, and I get more out of their articles than I do from articles in education journals where the focus is on (yawn) improving student test scores or (yawn again) raising student grades. I want to help my students develop success skills that will help them in school, in work, and in life. Way beyond their GPA. That's what I find at HBR.


And I also see a lot of articles there with powerful implications for educators, like this article which appeared yesterday: Want Your Employees to Trust You? Show You Trust Them by Holly Henderson Brower, Scott Wayne Lester, and M. Audrey Korsgaard. Just substitute teacher for manager, and students for employees, and I think you'll see the relevance right away. Here are the headings and subheadings; read the article for details about each:


How Managers/Teachers Chip Away at Trust


  • Lack of self-awareness.
  • Risk-averse by design.
  • “Bottom line” mentality.


What Managers/Teachers Can Do to Signal Trust


  • Taking stock.
  • (Carefully) giving up control.
  • Sharing information.
  • Pushing for needed change.
  • Investing in employee development.


For me, as a teacher, giving up control has been the biggest challenge, but also the most rewarding. Here is a quote from the article about that:

Ceding control also requires a certain tolerance for mistakes. Rather than taking harsh corrective action, treat employee mistakes as opportunities to facilitate learning.


See how growth mindset shows up there? Of course it does. Some of the best articles I've read about growth mindset come from Harvard Business Review.


So, as you ponder your course design this summer, think about whether you are designing-with-trust... or mistrust. As the article points out, "It’s up to managers [= teachers] to signal trust in their employees  [= students] in consistent and thoughtful ways."


I would especially urge everybody to think about trust (or lack thereof) if you decide to implement anti-plagiarism software like TurnItIn. Or ... if you might choose instead to invest your time, effort, and resources in other ways. More about that:

A Guide for Resisting EdTech: The Case Against TurnItIn 


And of course I have a cat for building mutual trust. :-)


We're building mutual trust (German Shepherd and kitten)