The Adventure of Trust in Leadership

"As soon as you trust yourself, you will know how to live." Goethe

There is no word that creates more energy and discussion than this word. In leadership, so many passionate discussions are based around this word:

Do I trust this new hire?
Do I trust this salesperson?
Do I trust this business deal?
Do I trust my colleague?
Do I trust my new manager?
Do I trust this decision?
Do I trust the economy?
Do I trust the politicians?
Do I trust the media?
Do I trust the mail?

I am sure you could add a few.

Related: Leadership Requires Bravery

The list goes on and on... and if you listen closely and look you can see behind the questions is ....doubt. Doubt and uncertainty, are two words that have more energy than trust.

Leaders are dealing with these doubts, fears, and uncertainty of emotions every day. In a time of great unrest and change the core skills you need to be prepared with the shifting tides of doubt which erodes the trust you have built over time are as follows:

"When I’m trusting and being myself… everything in my life reflects this by falling into place easily, often miraculously."

1. Define what you believe in and be able to articulate it clearly.

2. When you are going to communicate a message of change or challenge, vet it first amongst peers and naysayers. Get many perspectives and be prepared to answer and respond to the questions.

3. Remember doubt comes through questions and this provides an open door to learning, growth, and engagement for all involved.

4. Share with others small wins you have seen or experienced by moving in this direction. Share the risks you have vetted and mitigated before beginning the journey.


"Without trust, words become the hollow sound of a wooden gong. With trust, words become life itself."

5. Speak the truth over and over. State their fears, doubts, and uncertainties and shine the light on them. Share with them your insights, experiences, and beliefs.

6. Explore with others all the options you have considered, see if they have other ideas, and generate new and different thinking. Get others to tell their stories of when they learned to go in new directions.

7. Be aware that others' doubt and uncertainty are not about you, it is about a lack of trust in self. The willingness to take the adventure into the unknown is filled with uncertainty, mistakes, and potential failure. What they don't realize is that staying the same can still be filled with uncertainty, mistakes, and potential failure.

Related: Reviewing Goals as a Leader

"Creativity comes from trust. Trust your instincts. And never hope more than you work."

8. Remember to believe, for it is your beliefs which will hold you as move through the mystery and define new areas of growth.

"Trust that little voice in your head that says “Wouldn’t it be interesting if..”; And then do it."

Being a leader means you are often in the position of defining new paths and moving into new areas. You have learned to trust the voice inside you that says "Wouldn't it be interesting if..." and if you are this type of person then you have to get good at reaching out to others and help them learn to trust themselves as they move into the mystery...with you.

Keep enjoying the adventure.


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