Trust is, by definition, a gamble. Trusting is about taking risks - for a job to be done, for an agreement in good faith, for sharing information openly, for honesty and integrity in a relationship. It comes with the responsibility to deliver what one has been entrusted to deliver.
Micro-managers don’t do trust, preferring instead to have work done in their own set ways. Good leaders, on the other hand, thrive in empowering people to do new things in ways these people judge best. These leaders know very well that in the process they might sometimes take a hit. They will also be frequently surprised by the ingenuity of those they have trusted. And they will develop new leaders. Trust is an act of generosity - a wager on other people’s professional expertise and human integrity.
Disruption, by definition challenges an existing order in new and surprising ways. These days, we value disruption – at least the one caused by humans – for the benefits it brings. However, as new things happen, many people face significant changes in their work and lives causing defensiveness, apprehension and fear. This is especially so when people are not themselves the prime instigators of disruption.
Trust does not just happen passively, it happens when it is actively promoted. Leaders who promote trust and involve people in the transformative process have better chances to successfully navigate disruptive times. With empathy, compassion and good specialist expertise, people will more eagerly take responsibilities and risks in full solidarity with one another.
As a leader you have a permanent responsibility to maintain high trust with all your stakeholders, especially in disruptive times. Start by noting “what have I done today to increase trust?” and do it every day.
It’s a gamble, a noble one.
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