T=Trustworthy

Trust is the biggest business commodity of the decade. Without trust relationships and businesses falter.’
Stephen R. Covey

The  T in IMPACTFUL leadership stands for Trustworthiness and today we are going to examine what is trust and why it is such an essential component in life and business today.

In today’s networked world, trust has become the new currency – the critical competency for individuals,
teams, organisations and even countries. Trust impacts every situation – personal, business and even
your relationship with a horse. Robert A. McDonald, Chairman, President and CEO, The Procter & Gamble
Company, when referring to Stephen R. Covey’s book Smart Trust, states: “It is both a mindset and a toolbox
for 21st-century leadership”. Therefore, trust clearly is an important commodity that cannot be overlooked in
businesses and relationships today.

John C. Maxwell in ‘The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership’ defines that Law Six – The Law of Solid Ground – is based on the premise that Trust is the Foundation of Leadership. It is the glue that holds relationships and organisations together. Leaders cannot break trust with people and continue to influence them; it simply does not happen. This is much the same with horses. Horses thrive on a trusting relationship with their handler/owner and once that trust is breached it takes a long time to repair, and in some instances is never repairable. A lack of trust is prevalent in business today as employees no longer trust employers to look after them. Long gone are the days when people had a job for life. Today organisations will quickly downsize when economic conditions get tough. There is no loyalty from employees to employers or vice versa. The recent financial crisis of 2008/9 has made more and more people distrustful of the banking institutions, as well as the government’s ability to handle these situations. Witness too the growing mistrust between couples in relationships, resulting in some of the highest divorce rates in England and Wales that we have ever seen.

A great analogy to describe how trust is measured is to compare it to money. Each time you make a good leadership decision you build trust and so earn more money. Conversely, each time you make poor leadership decisions you pay out some of your money as trust is
eroded. All leaders start with a certain amount of money in their pockets or piggy bank; how they act determines whether that pile of money grows or becomes depleted. If a leader keeps making bad decisions then eventually the pile of money disappears – they have run out of trust with those they influence and it doesn’t matter whether the last blunder is big or small, it will be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, so to speak, and the reason that mistrust develops in the organisation.

So how does a leader build trust in those that follow him, and also in himself, since good leadership involves leading from the inside out? The answer lies in consistently exemplifying:

  • Competence
  • Connection
  • Character

Ralph Waldo Emerson states that “Self trust is the first secret to success”, because just as you can’t lead others until you can lead yourself, you can’t trust others until you can trust yourself. In his book  The Speed of Trust, Stephen R. Covey describes the first wave of trust as self–trust. It is all about being credible and developing integrity, intent, capabilities and results that make you believable, both to yourself and others.

Building trust with yourself starts with the small things in life. Like making an appointment with your wife for dinner and then making sure that you follow through on it, despite an urgent commitment coming up at work. Being on time to meet friends and not finding excuses for cancelling just because you don’t feel up to it. Putting  appointments in your diary and then making sure you keep them.

Extract from Unbridled Success – How The Secret Lives of Horses Can Impact Your Leadership, Teamwork and Communication Skills.  You can purchase the book here from Amazon

On November 28th, 2012, posted in: Trustworthy by

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