Trust is the cement that binds the Leader and the Team together. In my direct experience, over several decades, it could easily be regarded as the ESSENTIAL trait of Leadership.
The calibre of relationships and communication determines the quality and effectiveness of operational delivery and performance. At its most critical point, when I was required to place those, I had responsibility for, in harm’s way, trust in my decision –making and Leadership was paramount to the successful outcomes we achieved together.
This means, being familiar with names, family details, interests, aspirations, I.e. the reality behind the mask.
I never lost sight that, I was dealing with the lives and wellbeing of those I had responsibility for, including colleagues ‘customers’ (victims, witnesses, suspects) and the general public. Throughout my career, both in the private sector and policing, I was very much aware that Leadership is a privilege, not a job title or rank. It is my belief that knowing colleagues as REAL PEOPLE, helps imbue Leaders with recognition and respect for what will be required of all of us to ‘complete the mission’. This means, being familiar with names, family details, interests, aspirations, I.e. the reality behind the mask. The ‘big picture’ or strategic intent of our actions must be borne in mind, but every life is precious, none more so than the other.
Trust enables Leadership to engage, energise and empower the full potential of our colleagues. Such additional ‘discretionary effort’ imbues all of us to achieve more than we thought possible. To adapt Thomas Edison’s quote:
Leadership is 99% perspiration and 1% inspiration.
That is, Trust amongst the team is based on evidenced behaviours and actions taken by Leaders. These will be sufficiently strong so as to overcome personal agenda issues or hearsay from others. We spend so much time at work, it can only be beneficial to enhance that experience through human contact.
Leadership is not delivered by email but by ‘walking the walk’. Trust in Leadership is a two-way street. We, Leaders, have a duty and responsibility, to ourselves and others to ask appropriate questions of those senior to us who require us to implement a strategic purpose.
Phrases such as “Pin your ears back; This is an instruction, not a request; Do as I say; This is how we do things here’ are insufficient in themselves, to absolve a Leader from responsibility. ‘The Nuremberg Defence’ I.e. ‘I was merely obeying orders’ had a limited shelf life. Simply, put, if we, as Leaders, don’t believe in what we are about to impart to those we have responsibility for, then how can we expect those colleagues to believe and comply?
Authentic Trust creates a symbiotic relationship between the Leader and the team. When it exists, it creates an aura and intensity that is palpable and real. It is a good place to be.
There is a feeling of ‘higher, common purpose’ that helps us give of our best, more often and more powerfully. It helps create a common identity or culture that is embracing but not suffocating. In business terms, performance is enhanced and consistent.
Leadership, for me, is far more about ‘we’ and ‘us’ rather than ‘me’ and ‘me’. Leadership has Soul.
Would you say that the Leadership in your organisation has Soul? If so, how does it feel to be a part of such an organisation? Conversely, if your organisational Leadership lacks Soul, how does this impact on business performance, morale, customer experience and churn of staff?
How would such a culture benefit your organisation?