two businessmen shaking hands

Do you agree trust is the foundation of any relationship?  I’m sure you do; trust is equally foundational in a healthy leadership relationship. This is a practical guide for examining your trust habits and traits and is based on the content of an article that was posted on Inc. Magazine’s website recently.
As Abraham Lincoln said, “It’s better to trust and be disappointed once in a while than to distrust and be miserable all the time.”
Presented below are the traits and some commentary about what it looks like when applied.
  1. Willing to give up power.

    The most successful leaders intentionally give up power and entrust it to their direct staff. They do this because they are confident in their team’s ability, since trust is freely given as a gift even before it’s earned. By giving up their power and pushing their authority down, they empower others to own decisions, thus creating a proactive leader-leader culture of success, rather than a reactive leader-follower culture.
  2. Demonstrate high resilience in the face of adversity.

    Thomas Edison once said, “Many of life’s failures are people who did not realize how close they were to success when they gave up.” Such leaders are the ones who bounce back from setbacks by self-diagnosing why the same issues keep coming up over and over. They will recover and be open to change much quicker — changing what’s holding them back, and changing what no longer serves them or the company. This is someone you can trust.As Einstein has said, “You can’t solve a problem with the same thinking that created the problem in the first place.” This requires resilience to be able to examine why we seem stuck with the same results.

  3. Willing to trust and believe in the people they lead.In his book The Speed Of Trust, Stephen M.R. Covey says, “A team with high trust will produce results faster and at lower cost.” But should you first earn the trust of your people? Or does trust develop from having a belief in your people first — their strengths, abilities, and commitment? In other words, which of these two statements would you agree with?A. Trust is something that people must earn.
    B. Trust is something that should be given first.

    If you chose A, you’re in the majority. Conventional and safe thinking says that people have to earn trust first, and if they violate that trust, it becomes difficult to earn it back, right? But if you selected B, congratulations! It is commonly reported in the research journals that leaders in healthy (and therefore highly successful) organizations are willing to give trust to their team first, and they give it even before it’s earned.

  4. Display humility as a leadership strength.I’m sure you know some people in positions of power who believe humility is a sign of leadership weakness. Yet this core character trait drives against the inner strongholds that make an ineffective leader: pride, self-centeredness, control, and impulsiveness.In his book Good To Great, Jim Collins states, “Level 5 leaders channel their ego needs away from themselves and into the larger goal of building a great company. It’s not that Level 5 leaders have no ego or self-interest. Indeed, they are incredibly ambitious — but their ambition is first and foremost for the institution, not themselves.” This is leading with humility.
  5. Willing to seek input from peers.I’ve often said, “If you are the smartest person in the room, you are in the wrong room.” Successful leaders know they don’t have all the answers so they ask those in their inner circle and their team for insight, perspective and new ideas. It takes humility to say “How can we make this better?” And even more humility to consider answers that are not your own.
So, how to do you measure up in these five areas? In which area(s) would you like to grow? You may not be able to do it on your own, at least initially. I’ve helped dozens of leaders grow in these areas and would welcome the opportunity to work with you or others you know who desire to grow in their leadership.
Best regards,