Trust and the Double Lines

In Bob Chapman’s latest book, “Everybody Matters”, he describes the process behind discovering the Guiding Principles of Leadership. It incorporated deep thoughtful discussion and insight from twenty people from a variety of areas across the organization. The first bullet under the leadership heading speaks to an environment based on trust.

Mr. Chapman goes on to explain the great lengths he and his team went to in an effort to better understand what the employees felt about trust in their own world. After much dialogue, it was clear to him that trust was not something you simply put on a vision or mission statement.

As the “Impact” leadership model states, trust is required for a commitment to excellence. It has to be purposefully and continually nurtured and modeled in order to relax any obstacles that drive apprehension.

As leaders, your ability to be trusted WILL determine how much influence you have. If people can not trust you they will NOT believe you. Building a climate of trust starts when leaders are true to their word. In this climate leaders hold themselves accountable to their word, modeling the way for those around them.

In the workplace, if you do not trust the people you have hired to do their best without some form of micromanagement, guess who loses? Everyone!

I have always practiced the innocent until proven guilty approach as it relates to trusting my employees to deliver their best effort. I have found I spend much less time on performance management issues this way. When something does come up, I have found that a good, honest coaching session with the person who is struggling sure does help. During these sessions, I always point out that I didn’t get in my position by being perfect. This earns their trust in me.

When we acknowledge that we are real people who make mistakes and learn from them, it creates an opportunity for sincere dialogue. When we show we can be trusted and are committed to excellence, it inspires those around us to do the same.

When people believe that we will be what we say we are, everyone wins. The environment that we strive to build thrives on mutual respect, authenticity, and success. Yes, a successful environment is one where we all trust AND believe one another.

The straightest path to success can be compared to a highway with solid double lines; stay on your side of the road to keep moving forward but if you cross over the lines, the consequences could be significant.

Trust is the way to IMPACT – don’t cross the lines.