It never ceases to amaze me how often I come across a leader that doesn’t understand that without Trust, it doesn’t matter what that leader achieves for the team or for the organisation, their success is only temporary. These are usually the leaders that say “It’s lonely at the top”. That’s simply because of one of two reasons. They either do not know how to take their team with them on a journey to success, and/or their team has chosen not to follow. In other words, their team does not trust their leader enough and has not bought into the leader nor the leader’s vision. We will cover this in greater detail when we talk about the Law of Buy-In.
If this describes you as a leader, I will share with you what you can do about it. If this describes a leader that you are currently working for or working with, you have a decision to make, don’t you. Begin by asking yourself this question, if you had a million dollar idea (and I truly believe that in each of us lies one or more of those ideas that simply remain dormant until someone comes along beside you with the right spark to ignite your furnace), would you share it with someone that you didn’t trust?
When I conduct a roundtable
coaching session on this law, I ask people to come up with two lists. I ask firstly for examples of what a trustworthy leader looks like. I’m sure that if I asked you that question, you would have similar responses to many of my Mastermind group members. They include being authentic, honest, having strong integrity, ethical, and many more. I also ask them for a list of examples of leaders they can’t trust and what those leaders are like. This list not only include the opposite of the previous list but an interesting observation that regularly comes up is the comment “I just don’t feel like he is trustworthy.”
The feeling that a leader can’t be trusted lies not just in words or deeds but far deeper in its origins. More often than not, there are deep rooted causes that stem from incidences of hurt they have personally experienced in the past that has contributed to them building a defensive wall around them and adding to it over the years. It is this wall that not only stops them from trusting others but also prevents others from trusting them.
Think about the Berlin Wall. There is probably no greater symbolic representation of a lack of trust than that wall. It was not until President Ronald Reagan uttered his famous words “Mr Gorbachev, tear down this wall!” that trust could be rebuilt. It brought an end to the Cold War and was the start of a new era of cooperation.
These leaders are ME focused, rather than WE focused. They really need to get over themselves! And the best way to do that is to add value to someone else on a daily basis without expecting anything in return.
We also teach that connecting goes beyond words. In order for your team to trust you as the leader, you have to first be prepared to not just add value to others but to start tearing down your wall. The process of discovering the issues that holds us back cannot be achieved by ourselves. Einstein definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting a different result. How often do we get in our own way?! He also said that “We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.” The value of having a coach in discovering what is required of you to start breaking down this wall is vitally important. A good coach will not impose their own agenda on yours. TheIr focus is on you and the things that hold you back from achieving everything in life that you would like to achieve.
When it comes to becoming a person that others can trust, there will be no greater ally in your corner than your own leadership coach, someone who will tell you whether they themselves trust you or not. We have a vested interest in helping leaders learn how to build their leadership on solid groud. Without solid ground, their is no team. Without a team, success is merely temporary and often selfish.
By Ivan Ang