Courageous Leadership: Are you prepared to trust your team?

Courageous Leadership: Are you prepared to trust your team?
March 4, 2020 Linda Murray

We know trust is built with small, consistent actions and, whether you’ve noticed it or not, there’s a theme running through my articles this month.

You see, there are two attitudes towards trust.

  1. Trust must be earned, and people need to prove themselves trustworthy, and/or,
  2. People will be trustworthy if you put your trust in them.

The first attitude is often what you see in the workplace. Leaders and managers who find it hard to let go control are those who need their trust to be earned. They need to know people are trustworthy before they will trust them. This is counterintuitive, isn’t it? If you don’t trust people, how can they prove themselves worthy?

The second attitude is that which a courageous leader has. The leader puts her trust in the team. Why is this courageous? Because this is the leader who is willing to take a risk; to take a chance on the team and to believe they will deliver.

Courageous trust

Trust is at the heart of any true relationship. If trust is a series of small, consistent actions, where does it start? Who starts to build it?

You can sit and wait for it to evolve over time or you can take the initiative and start the process yourself.

I go back to the quote by Charles Feltman who said, “Trust is choosing to make something important to you vulnerable to the actions of someone else.” Letting go of control means making yourself vulnerable to your team. It takes courage to step back and stop managing all the details. It takes courage to trust your team to deliver.

Courageous leaders are willing to be the first to trust, even when there is no foundation yet. The risk is worth it.

Trust breeds trust.

Have you ever been in a position where someone you respect has trusted you to do something?

How did you feel?

What went through your mind?

I’ve been in that situation and I felt honoured, but I also felt the weight of responsibility. It made me hold myself to a higher standard and accountable for it. I felt the need to prove myself worthy of the trust placed in me.

That’s typical of human nature.

When someone puts their trust in us, we strive to live up to it. Trust breeds trust.

Courageous leaders and trust.

A courageous leader is someone who understands the risks yet is prepared to make themselves vulnerable by trusting their people to do what is asked of them. This is the first step in a series of small consistent actions which are the foundation of trust.

It’s no wonder Brené Brown chose BRAVING as her acronym for the elements of trust.

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Who do you want or need to trust?
  • What will you trust them to do?
  • What are the risks if they fail?
  • How will you offer your trust?

Be brave. Once you’ve demonstrated your trust by offering the opportunity to your team members, stand back and watch them deliver.

You need to give trust to get it or to make it grow.

Someone must trust first. If you’re courageous, it will be you.

Need some support on developing trust in your organisation, or adopting a courageous leadership mindset? You can contact me here for more information on my one-on-one mentoring services and coaching programs.

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