We came across the following quote – let this sink in for a minute.

“You can have a compelling vision, rock solid strategy, excellent communication skills, innovative insight, and a skilled team. But if people don’t trust you, you will never get the results you want.”

-David Horsager, Speaker/Author/Global Trust Expert

It’s amazing how many positive things you can have going for you as a leader, but if you lack the main ingredient of trust, the rest of it doesn’t matter much. In our culture, we believe in investing around innovation and results. But when it comes to the soft stuff, it doesn’t seem compelling enough to get the airtime. What if mastering the one thing that everything else grows from (trust, in case you zoned out) brought you the biggest bang for your buck? It can be that simple.

Horsager goes on to say in this piece for Forbes that “One of the biggest mistakes a leader can make is to assume others trust him simply by virtue of his title.” This critical element doesn’t come with the job.

So, are you curious? Try this question on: Do my people really trust me? Let’s see how you can tell:

  1. My team members aren’t afraid of conflict – in fact, they regularly debate me on key issues and I don’t overreact or get defensive because I don’t have an agenda to protect.
  2. I care more about the long term relationships, than the short term wins. Caring about the needs of my people makes them better at work AND life – it’s not just about results.
  3. I consistently and frequently take time to celebrate the wins of the people on my team.
  4. My walk matches my talk, even when it’s painful and requires me to be vulnerable and honest.
  5. I don’t repeat confidential conversations to anyone, even under the guise of smoothing things over.

If you answered yes to most of these – CONGRATULATIONS on your low turnover rate and high morale (people leave leaders, not companies)!

If you’re not sure, this is a great time to start BEING HONEST with yourself! Creating a culture of trust is critical for any successful organization. And it has to start from the top. A culture of trust means we work in an environment where vulnerability and transparency are valued and rewarded. Where leadership models honesty and team members have the freedom to express their opinions, take risks, and fail. This takes intentionality and time, but the rat wheel of unfulfillment and resentment is killing teams and destroying leaders, and it’s not crushing any goals either.

Next week we’ll look at other ways that trust is broken in the workplace, so watch for that. In the meantime, build some awareness on where this comes up on your team and where you contribute. You may just build some trust.

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