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Trust as a leader

Building trust as a leader is the key to success in leadership.


I grew up hearing that trust isn’t given; it’s earned. While I agree with that, I also disagree with it.

I totally understand that trust can go away super fast. It’s like making a tower with blocks, and if you make one mistake, down it goes—same with trust. Make one slip-up and bam; all the trust you worked hard for can disappear really quickly.

The thing is, I don’t fully agree because trust is like our survival kit. When I hit the store, I trust I won’t get shot at. Jumping in my car, I trust those brakes will do their job. Heading to work, I trust my teammates will be there to lend a hand, and together, we’ll rock the project.

Trust is super important in life, and it’s not just about understanding; sometimes, you have to hand it out.

As a leader, trust is a big deal.

Think about those bosses who didn’t trust you. How did they make you feel? Did you even want to go to work? Did you give your all and put your heart into everything you did? Did you do your best?

For me, the answer is no. When my boss didn’t trust me, I didn’t do my best because I felt like nothing I did was good enough. When every little thing I did was questioned, it didn’t motivate me to be my best.

As a leader, if you don’t trust your team, you won’t get the best results.

Not everyone might get this, but many of you will. As a mom or dad, do you trust your kids? If you ask them to do something, do you trust it’ll get done?

Yeah, I totally trust my kids to give it their best shot. I get it; they might mess up, it won’t be perfect, and maybe I could do it quicker. But what kind of message am I sending if I don’t trust them?

Think about it.

As a kid, how did it feel when your dad trusted you with something? I still remember the first time my dad handed me a screwdriver and said, “Go clean out the carburetor on this lawnmower.” I was scared but super pumped. When I finished, he looked at me, and…

So, we took the carburetor apart again and fixed a few pieces I didn’t put together right. Dad never made me feel small or talked down to me. He just said how I could do better, mentioning that it’s tough to remember everything the first time you try something.

Bottom line: Trust is like magic glue. It helps your team stick together. But if trust is missing, it can break your team apart.

My previous boss divided our three-person team, thinking individual efforts would boost productivity. However, this approach led to rivalry and inner competition, breaking our once-close bond. What used to be a united team turned into a situation where we didn’t even want to be around each other anymore.

His team crashed and burned because he didn’t trust any of us. Trust is like the team’s fuel; without it, things go downhill fast.

Ever been the boss, having to trust someone brand new—a total stranger you’ve never crossed paths with before in your life?

Next time you’re in a trust situation, trust me. Don’t hesitate; give them the benefit of the doubt. Know they can handle the task just like you could—maybe even better. Take the leap, and you might be surprised at what they bring to the table.

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