The Two Core Tenets Behind Great Work Made By Happy People
When trust and respect are at the core of what you do, doing what you do feels better and, in turn, the results will be better. Full stop.
In advertising we talk a lot about choosing your battles during the process—and this is a battle I will choose every time. Here's why.
Trust and respect as core tenets aren't specific to advertising, or even the workplace. They're relationship 101, which is why it's disappointing that so many internal and even agency-client relationships seem to fall short.
Working harder, faster and longer to come up with more and more ideas because I said so is a belief that is born from insecurity, ego and power. Sure, sometimes, these methods lead to great, even award-winning work...but at what cost? A team that feels small, unappreciated and unmotivated? Not worth it. Especially when you'll be asking them to start the whole process over again tomorrow. Channel that energy into trust and respect instead.
When you're in a position of power, it's vital that you trust your teams are able and willing to do whatever they need to make this project a success. It's even more vital that they know you trust them. This can be communicated a number of ways:
- Setting clear expectations and happily stepping aside
- Encouraging them in a constructive way throughout the process
- Saying things like, "I know you'll do a great job."
- Promoting their achievements (however small) internally
- E) All of the above
If you don't trust your team, maybe there's an underlying reason why that's worth addressing. Or, perhaps you feel like you haven't seen what they're fully capable of! In that case, double up on the trust.
Respect and trust are kindred spirits. Demonstrating trust is a form of respect, but there's more to it than that. Respect is a powerful exchange. And it's one of the hardest ones to fake or manufacture.
To show respect is to recognize the value that someone can offer (Note: Because no one gets it right every time, can is key)—not just through your direct interactions with that person, but through the indirect interactions that may affect that person. To summarize, it's best to take a 360-degree approach respect or you're not truly being respectful. Again, this is why respect cannot be manufactured or faked.
The truth is, it takes a great deal of self-awareness to get it right. I certainly don't. Even as I write this, I'm mentally filing through proof of my own hypocrisy. But the silver lining is, if I can trust others to keep striving for respect, and they trust me to do the same, suddenly perfection isn't the standard. Then we all have room to fail and learn. It's the give and take of every relationship, especially when someone's livelihood! or fulfillment! are at stake, and it's why trust and respect are the two core tenets behind great work made by happy people.