“Trust is the most cherished and valuable commodity in a work environment”
-Brad Anderson, former CEO, Best Buy
No, that’s not abstract art. Those are all the airplanes flying in North America at 4:13 pm on Monday afternoon. You see what I mean? It takes trust to fly!
The first need of followers is trust. Understanding trust begins by exploring the outcomes of trust.
The outcomes of strong relationships built on trust are honesty, integrity, and respect. If you’ve thought trust is a great way to filter relationships – you’re right. Deciding who to spend time with may come down to the basic element of trust.
Observations about Trust
- When someone tells you they’ll keep confidence and they do, it builds trust.
- Over time, as you deepen relationships with others and learn you can count on them, you’re developing trust.
- It is a pattern of reliability and includes punctuality. These are behaviors that demand trust.
Now that I’ve just put an image in your head of a person who is always late, or always reminding you to be on time, you know the challenge of trust. For some of us, it may even be easier to come up with examples of distrust or broken trust. Just turn on the TV: business, political and religious scandals continue to be in the news.
Relationships Built on Trust
So let me ask you to think about the relationships in your life. Who comes to mind? Your spouse, children, parents, other relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, church peeps, and community members. Pick three individuals. Now answer this question:
Do you believe in one another?
Relationships that are steeped in proving yourself to one another, explaining your actions or inaction, and justifying behaviors have a difficult time building trust. What would it take for you risk believing in the people around you? Perhaps an example will help.
When I participated in a coach training, we started from a place of affirming that “people are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.” As a result, every time I have the opportunity to coach someone, I come to the conversation trusting they are naturally creative, resourceful, and whole.
Now before you say, “Sara, they wouldn’t be coming to you for coaching if that was the case.”
Well, not exactly.
Trust in Professional Relationships
My role as a coach is to draw out of you what you already have within you. I ask questions and make observations. All so you can see what may have been in your blind spot and choose to take action.
As a result, one of the great privileges I have in leadership and ministry is to serve as a coach. I consider it a privilege because coaching happens in the context of a trusting relationship.
Can you imagine how different coaching would be if you came to me and I assumed you needed to be “fixed”? Or, worse, I assumed there was something wrong with you that I had the power to change?
I’ll be honest, I wouldn’t serve as a coach if those were the conditions of a coaching relationship. Why? Because, at best, trust would be difficult. Worst case scenario, trust would be absent.
As leaders, we need to remember the basic needs of followers. Trust is foundational. It takes time, effort, and most of all consistency. It takes believing in one another enough to give trust a try.
Let me ask you to dig a little deeper.
Is Your Trust Paying a Dividend or a Tax?
Everything you are trying to accomplish is affected positively or negatively by trust.
- If it’s a dividend, performance multiples.
- If it is a tax, the time it takes to make things happen exponentially increases as do costs.
When trust exists between people everything is more efficient.
Perhaps you still need convincing how important a need trust is to followers. Here are a few statistics that may help:
- One in twelve employees are engaged when they do not trust their leaders
- One in two employees are engaged when they do trust their leaders
If you’re leading a church or a part of a church, replace “employees” with the people who participate in the life of the congregation.
Who talks about trust?
- The topic of trust (and lack of trust) dominates the discussion of struggling teams
- The topic of trust rarely surfaced in successful teams.
The next time you get in an airplane, or perhaps even the car, stop for a minute and think about the trust you readily hand over to people you don’t know. Now tell me, why wouldn’t we want to do the same for the people we lead and love?
Take the Next Step
- Explore whether you’re paying a tax or a dividend on trust.
- Identify three relationships.
- Now answer the question: Do you believe in one another?
- Decide whether you are paying a trust tax or receiving trust dividends. What will you do to get to dividends?
- Learn how you can leverage your strengths in your leadership. As you learn what naturally occurring talents you have and begin to leverage your talents in leadership, you’ll naturally build trust. Why? Because you’ll stop trying to be someone you’re not. Find out more here.
- Are you Jesus follower?
- Begin to explore Strengths-Based Disciple-Making. As you consistently focus on the mission of making disciples and changing the world, you’ll deepen trust in your leadership.
- Review the “Basic Needs of Followers” here.