Nov 11 2013

Leaders Learn About Trust

Our associate Steph Olexa recently led our Leadership Lab members through a workshop based on the 5 Domains of Trust and it was an eye-opening experience. Becoming a leader is tough. Not because you have to be a genius to lead but because very few people will move through their fears, voices of judgment, and cynicism to claim their unique contribution in their roles at work and life. In short, a lot of us need more effective ways to think about trust.

Steph helped a group of business family leaders realize that trust and trustworthiness are two sides of the same coin of development. In order to gain and maintain trust a person must trust others to their personal development. These peers and trusted advisors help us find the kind of clarity and confidence that we so easily lose in the systems we are a part of. These systems are far too often unhealthy places to be, places where the benefit of the bottom line is not connected to the purpose of the organization. And as a result the common good of each stakeholder can not create the necessary basis for trust. When the bottom line is subject to the individual’s purpose and position the whole company can become driven to serve a greater goal. This is motivation for other people to follow and build teams of trustworthiness.

So there are two ideas to consider: one as a leader of an organization and the other as a participant in an organization.

As a leader, are you providing a work environment where people’s purpose and position are valued so that the whole company is driven to serve a greater goal? Or does an overemphasis on the bottom line force you to devalue the people alongside you, thus eroding trust?

As a participant, are you finding spaces where you can grow in trust, leaning on peers and trusted advisers for advice and a listening ear?

Finally, when there has been a loss of trust, Steph helped us to ask the question: From which of the 4 Domains of Trust does this issue stem?

Is it competency?

Is it integrity?

Is it benevolence?

Is it vision?

Each of these domains have a way forward but not knowing where your mistrust stems from can mean that you approach the solution from the entirely wrong perspective. When we begin to take the time as a leader to understand these dynamics in our relationships, and act accordingly, we can truly develop.

by Scott Hackman, Family Business Advisor & Strategist, Delaware Valley Family Business Center

Beginning in November, we will be accepting new members to our Leadership Labs, a place for leaders to build trust and confidence in their purpose and position. Please contact Scott for more information.

For more on trust, read additional blogs written by Steph Olexa!

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