What does trust have to do with leadership?


Loyalty-Integrity

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I once had an occasion with a leader, who was new to me, in which the circumstances required me to decide on the spot whether to trust without the benefit of a longstanding shared team history. What I saw in this man was unyielding integrity and loyalty to the whole team, which now included me. In my presence, he had only treated others with dignity and respect. His visible character allowed me to make a leap of faith to extend trust. In good faith, I was then able to bring forward the truth of a serious situation that had significant ramifications.  Prior to him, I’m afraid, the truth would have otherwise been complicated by the politics surrounding it.

So, the real question is, how do you build that kind of trust connection with your team? Leaders are forever in the spotlight and must remember that everyone is paying attention to your words and actions. If they see you take a moral short-cut because it will make something easier, you’ve lost. If they see you back-biting and tearing others down, they’ll wonder what you say about them when they’re not in the room. Treating others with dignity and respect is another visible means of judging one’s character. There is no escaping the reality that if they don’t see you acting with loyalty and integrity, building trust will be impossible.

Stop and think about what these components mean:

Loyalty breeds trust. It’s as simple as that. Merriam-Webster defines loyalty as “unswerving allegiance”.

Integrity can be boiled down to doing the right thing, every time, even when no one is looking. This consistent ethical and moral boundary is not only good for you and your team, but your organization benefits as well.

Dignity and Respect means that no matter the position within the organization, individuals deserve to be treated as valuable human beings. From laborer to CEO, your language in addressing them and making requests should remain the same. Leaders need to be consistent. Your behavior should not change just because certain people aren’t in the room.

What do these traits look like in a leader? When there is trouble, people know they’re not in it alone and that they won’t be thrown under the bus as an example to others; you have their back. Consistent accountability. The team is confident that it is safe bring a mistake forward and that redemption is possible. The team sees their leader deal only in the truth, most especially when it’s hard. Doing the right thing, consistently. Standing in the gap. Helping. Making individuals feel valued for doing a good job. Caring.

What does poisonous organizational leadership look like? If any of the following are a part of your team environment, building trust is unlikely: a lack of accountability, intimidation, closed-mindedness, manipulation, secretiveness, blame, individual attacks, power through fear, stifling creative problem solving or improvements, negativity, favoritism, or political land mines. The existence of any of these workplace toxins means that you have a leadership problem and you must work on yourself before you can build trust in others.

While man’s best friend, will overlook your shortcomings and the times you weren’t at your best, your team needs more than a quick pat on the head and tossing the ball to gain their trust.

What did your best leader do to build your trust? What did your worst leader do to destroy it?

 

Related Articles: 4 Secrets to An Empowered and Engaged Team

Cross-posted in LinkedIn

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The 4 Secrets to An Empowered and Engaged Team


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Photo Credit: Vicktor Hanacek

Achieving an engaged and empowered team has been the Achilles’ heel for enlightened organizations trying to climb out of the vestiges of command & control management. Leaders are told of the benefits of the engaged workforce, but it seems distant and unattainable. Each leader views the role with the lens of their own personality and the accumulated experience developed through exposure to other leaders, both good and bad, throughout their life. Considering the breadth of variable inputs derived from the individual leadership experience and personality, how can any leader achieve an engaged and empowered team?

Build a Connection to Inspire

Your team needs to understand what you value and know that they matter to you… genuinely. When you care about the individual hopes, dreams, and families of your team, they can see it. Don’t pretend. No one will be inspired by a disingenuous gesture. This will lead to active disengagement and no place you’d want to be. But, when you speak from the heart, your team can connect with you. This opens the door to cast the vision for the future, lay out the mission and inspire them to own their role in the future vision for your organization.

Individual Development

Just as leaders enter their role as the sum of their experiences, so do team members. Everyone is joining with a specific skill set, strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, they have different hopes and dreams. Not everyone desires to be a leader and others can’t imagine being anything but. While you’re building a connection, it’s important to learn about their hopes and dreams; where do they want to go in their career? The biggest demonstration of your sincerity is to create the opportunities for career development for current or future roles.

Trust

When the organization is steeped in the remnants of command and control management, it will require moments where you say, “I trust you to make the right decision.” By the time you’re having this conversation, you both should know where the guardrails are. This would have been preceded by a period of making the decision together so they understand what your inputs are and when they should reach out and consult vs. moving ahead. Eventually, let go.

Servant Leadership

Servant leadership stands out above all other leadership styles in the pursuit of workplace utopia because it “has a positive relationship with organizational citizenship behavior, job performance and staying with the organization” (DuBrin, 2010), it has its foundation in ethical values, and moves the organization forward to realize its goals. “Empowerment, authenticity, stewardship and providing direction” (van Dierrendonck & Patterson, 2014) define Servant Leadership. Only Servant Leaders “focus on the employee first, then on the talents of the employee, and lastly on how this benefits the organization” (van Dierrendonck & Patterson, 2014).

Initially, employees join the organization for the promise of a great future at work. They’re here, now what? People need boundaries, accountability, empowerment, inspiration and a vision. Most of all, they need to feel valued. When they’re truly engaged, they stay because their leader has made a connection and inspired them. So, willingly, they adopt the vision, the mission and join the tribe.

Have you ever been inspired, engaged and truly empowered at work?

 

Cross posted: www.linkedin.com/in/CariRay-MSML

References

DuBrin, A. J. (2010). Leadership (7th ed.). Mason, OH: South-Western/Cengage.

van Dierrendonck, D., & Patterson, K. (2014, February 13). Compassionate Love as a Cornerstone of Servant Leadership: An Integration of Previous Theorizing and Research. Journal of Business Ethics, 128, 119-131. doi:10.1007/s10551-014-2085-z

 

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Book Review: The Employee Experience Advantage by Jacob Morgan


Cover-EmployeeExperienceAdvantageAny organization that wants to understand why they’re losing the battle to keep great employees needs to study Jacob Morgan’s new book, The Employee Experience Advantage. In it, Morgan defines the employee experience evolution in terms how the employer looks at the employment relationship and what the organization hopes to gain. Taking the reader from utility, “what do employees need to work”, all the way to experience, “how can we create a company where people want to show up vs. need to show up”, Morgan sets the stage to begin a journey to understanding employees and what makes them tick. He views “employee experience as something that creates engaged employees but focuses on the cultural, technological, and physical design of the organization”. Touching on the organization’s reason for being, Morgan shows that employees want to be a part of something with meaning, something to rally around. He examines the best and worst companies from his lens of the organizational experience to show what a cool physical environment, ace technology and a celebrated culture looks like. I recommend this book to leaders looking to build a great employee experience.

Disclaimer: I was given a copy of this book for my honest review

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Book Review: Be The People by Carol M. Swain


Dr. Swain’s approach, to speak directly without tiptoeing through he facts with political correctness, is refreshing. Her personal history allows her to stand her ground and withstand any claims of racism or bigotry.

“The founders were certain that ‘piety and public virtue’ would help their new nation avoid decline and fall as prior societies had not. However, in contrast to the vision of many of the founding fathers, unprecedented numbers of today’s Americans have traded piety and virtue for the unfettered irreverence as they have emulated the immorality practiced by the fallen Greco-Roman nations and Ammonites.” ~ Swain, Be The People page 27

Carol Swain also wades, again without any hint of political correctness, into one of the most honest discussions of the brutal realities of racism, abortion, homosexuality, feminism, immigration and Radical Islam.

“For a brief moment in time, we believed we had entered a postracial era in American politics. We were wrong.” Swain, page 194

Be The People is an articulate, well-written and honest look at the state of the union as it exists today. America needs to reflect on the difficult truths that cover these pages. It has become clear that for Americans to Be The People, ordinary citizens need to join Carol Swain and call things as they are with direct honesty.

I received a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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Responsibilities of Citizenship


” For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.”  (Matt 6:21 ESV)

Where is your treasure?  If we delight ourselves in the Lord, do we still want the same treasures the world values?  Do we not, instead, draw toward the riches found only in the kingdom of heaven?

“Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart.” (Ps 37:4 ESV)

If the Lord is our delight, would we not find deep satisfaction and, yes, even joy in doing the work He has set before us as Christians? Would we not turn away from the treasures of the world so completely that if Our Father in Heaven put worldly treasures in our hands, they would sift through our fingers like so much sand?

There is no formula, God sees the truth that lies deep within our hearts. So if you’re just going through the motions, there your heart is also. But if your heart is full and overflowing with the greatest treasure, the love of Jesus, could the treasures of this world hold any sway?

Now, as a citizen of The United States of America you have to ask, what sway does the lure of money and power have over the people we elect to represent us in Washington?  These men are pulled many directions by the other insiders, lobbyists and the pet cause de jour.  Many who hold these offices end up with connections to great wealth and opportunity that ordinary citizens don’t have access to.  The very people who sent them to Washington, entrusted with the future of this nation, are now relegated to We The little People.

There is no greater responsibility that We The People have as citizens than to exercise our right to vote with great care.  Men who are of this world don’t have the same moral compass that a man who delights in the Lord. If the lure of riches and power hold no value, We The People can trust them to exercise the power he holds with great care.

“No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.” (Matt 6:24 ESV)

If an elected official serves God, he, like our Founding Fathers, will consider what’s best for our nation, not just what will get them re-elected.

God Bless America!

Further reading:

Deitrich Bonhoeffer

Founded on the Rock

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The Liturgical Year By Joan Chittister


The Liturgical Year is a glimpse into an institutionalized relationship with Jesus. The author seems genuinely moved by each of the feasts and celebrations that are described with fawning prose.  I will qualify my remarks with the following: I am part of a non-denominational faith and therefore have a fundamentally different view of the individual’s relationship with Jesus.  What I hoped to gain was an understanding of the different feasts and celebrations that occur throughout the year. What I found was steeped in the long traditions firmly rooted in the very things that were originally intended to bring one closer to God; but in my opinion have lost much in becoming part of the rote actions of the believers.  Followers of Christ would know Him better through a thorough study of the Bible.

I found this book disappointing in that it glorifies each rote act that allows the individual to be a part of the greater church, yet remain completely separate from a personal relationship with our Lord and Savior.  Our faith in action out in the world, obedient to his will, will do more for the cause of Christ than wallowing in traditions far enough removed to have become the surrogate relationship with Christ instead.

See Also:

Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Phophet, Spy

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Bonhoeffer by Eric Metaxas


Dietrich Bonhoeffer was, as the title so aptly describes, Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, SpyEric Metaxas uses Bonhoeffer’s own words, through letters and the recollections of those around him, to share the depth of Bonhoeffer’s faith and what that would ultimately require of him.  By guiding the reader through Bonhoeffer’s life, Metaxas helps the reader understand that to Dietrich Bonhoeffer, his faith and his political actions were bound together so tightly, it was impossible to separate the two. When his faith required action against the evil sanctioned by the Third Reich, he did not falter or complain, Bonhoeffer simply obeyed the will of God unto death.

The great masquerade of evil has played havoc with all our ethical concepts.  For evil to appear disguised as light, charity, historical necessity or social justice is quite bewildering to anyone brought up on our traditional ethical concepts, while for the Christian who bases his life on the Bible it merely confirms the fundamental wickedness of evil. ~Deitrich Bonhoeffer (Metaxas pg 446)

I highly recommend this book to all Americans as we watch the opening salvos in the Middle East of another attack on the Jew’s right to exist.  Knowing the history of the resistance to the Holocaust during WWII by Christians within Germany may help We The People  avoid complicity through inaction in the American political system.

…the longer the German people tolerate the Nazi regime the greater becomes their responsibility for the crimes which that regime is committing in their name.  ~ Anthony Eden (Metaxas pg 404)

Any Christian who reads this well written biography will be inspired to examine the question, “what do you really believe?”

God Bless America!

Also see:

The UnPatriot Act

Founded On The Rock

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