Some Thoughts on Trust

When it comes to leadership, it is hard to think of something more important than trust. One could be talented, with an impressive CV. One could say the quote unquote “right things” but if one doesn’t have his colleagues trust, they have nothing.

Trust is difficult because it isn’t something one can do. It isn’t a bullet point on a resume. It’s pathos—an emotional connection with your peers. And it has two roots. It requires a strong belief on the part of you peers that you have their best interests in mind. Second, it requires a strong belief that you have the ability and knowledge to act on that vested interest.

So how does one plant the seed that will grow roots and flower with trust? Asking people for their advice and listening to them. People need to be heard. One needs to take an interest in what is important to their peers. This makes people feel they have validation. One must always be genuine. There is no middle ground when it comes to “playing politics.” One either has agendas or they don’t.

This influence is key for any leader, but it can also help anyone who would like to exert positive influence over the peers even if they are not a leader.

New Year Resolutions for Leaders

Resolve to be the kind of leader we want to follow. Be consistent. We can tolerate even a poor leader if he isn’t channeling a different sort of poor leadership each day. Be real. Let us see how you as a leader effectively manage emotions and frustration at work. Show us what excites you about the challenges ahead.

Resolve to help us understand how we can develop. This helps us be better in many ways. It allows us to understand our future with the company; it gives us a way to structure our efforts to learn more about our jobs, our company, and our industry; and it shows that you have a personal interest, because you have made an effort to know our individual strengths and weaknesses.

Become a better listener. We have ideas. They won’t all be great ideas, but if you listen to us you can coach us to develop our ability to better vet and sharpen the next one.

Hold the micromanagement. Let’s talk trust. Nothing is more frustrating than to be prevented from just doing the job you hired me to do. We understand that it can be uncomfortable to delegate work. We understand that in many cases it is your reputation on the line when our team fails to produce something to our standard.

Hold poor performers accountable. If they can’t improve, pay the price necessary to cut them loose. What could be more damaging to the morale of the team than the struggle associated with carrying dead wood? We understand that you may not want to lose a position, that you may have some hope that you can magically restore someone’s motivation or suddenly implant some talent, or that politics may provide the poor performer with protection.

Catwoman as a leader?

Came across a provocative title the other day. How dressing like Catwoman earned me new business in the Globe and Mail. In the article, Michelle Ray tells of how she was tasked by her manager with selling advertising to a large cinema complex. She went to the first one and struck out as she was cold-calling. She saw a costume shop as she was driving to her next destination and found a Catwoman costume. She continued on to her destination dressed as Catwoman. Bye the end of the day, she landed 6 new contracts.

She told her manager what she had done to land the contracts. Silence. Then uncontrollable laughter. He had her repeat it to make sure he heard her correctly. He then commended her for her innovation, imagination and being a bold manager.

She goes on to commend her manager for his support of her initiatives, no matter how far-fetched. She gives some reasons why employing someone like her manager is in the best interest of their employees:

  1. Supportive leaders build employee loyalty
  2. Supportive leaders build trust and initiative
  3. Supportive leaders boost creativity and productivity

~ Jody Victor

Leadership Skill #1

Jody Victor’s crew found a 12-part series on Leadership Skills required to be a world-class leader by Steve Tappin. Steve Tappin is the CEO of Xinfu, Host of BBC CEO Guru & Founder, WorldOfCEOs.com. You can follow his series on LinkedIn.

His Leadership Skill #1 is Build Trust With Anyone. He says you can’t work with anyone without trusting them first. He goes on to give some Trust Exercises and the Xinfu Trust Formula. He gives pointers on how to accelerate trust and gives a Homework assignment related to building trust.

We will try to follow his skills here.

Jody & Crew.