“Regardless of the profession or situation, earning trust is paramount in leadership.”1
The photo shows two firefighters attacking a propane fire during a training session. Both individuals were assigned to my shift, and they had earned trust in each other. They also had trust in their training, trust in their physical condition, trust in their mental mindset, and trust in the lieutenant that supervised them.
Earned Trust or Implied Trust?
How often have you heard someone say, “Trust me!” Perhaps you have said those exact words or maybe you’ve stated, “You have to earn my trust!” The latter is easy to say and in the case of the firefighters above, that is a bona fide statement. We do have to earn people’s trust and how long that takes depends on the individuals involved and the circumstances we face.
However, when you walk through the jetway towards the open door of the aircraft you are about to board, there is implied trust. You trust the aircrew that they are skilled and competent. You trust that there is enough fuel to get the plane to the next airport. You trust the mechanical condition of the plane and you place trust in the air traffic controllers that they are going to keep you from a mid-air collision.
The opening quote stated, “earning trust is paramount in leadership,” but so is giving trust away. How can you earn trust by giving trust away? Simple. As leaders, we take calculated risks and allow the people working for us to make decisions on their own without meddling or micromanaging their work.
This doesn’t mean the leader abdicates their responsibilities or authority. It means the leader assigns the task or project and applies an appropriate level of supervision based on the subordinate’s skill level.
That builds trust between everyone involved and helps create a unified team. On the other hand, if you want to destroy trust and create dissension within the team, then meddle and micromanage.
Which would you rather have? Trust or distrust? Unity or dissension?
Learning More About Trust
Order a copy of my book The Furnace of Leadership Development at The Furnace of Leadership Development: How to Mold Integrity and Character in Today’s World: Davis, Rick: 9781733073509: Amazon.com: Books to learn more about trust or visit my website at https://www.impactusleadership.com and order an autographed copy.
1Rick Davis, The Furnace of Leadership Development, (Loveland, CO: Java House Publishing, 2019), 25