The Glue in Leadership and Relationships That Holds Everything Together

The Glue in Leadership and Relationships That Holds Everything Together 150 150 Jennifer Ledet

In leadership and in relationships, what is the glue that holds everything together?

In one of my leadership development workshops, my client and I were discussing the integral role that trust plays within an organization, particularly between a manager and his or her team members. Eric serves as a Lead Operator on an oil rig in the Gulf of Mexico. “I don’t care who you are or what your title is, if I don’t trust you, I can’t work with you!” Eric said vehemently. His rationale behind this statement isn’t hard to understand. In his role, he puts life and limb on the line every day, and if he can’t be absolutely sure that his co-workers are being safe and not cutting corners, he doesn’t want to work with them.

You guessed it, TRUST, is that glue in leadership and relationships that holds everything together.

Whether you’re a leader by title or by influence, trust needs to be a huge part of your make-up. Frankly, it is an important part of any relationship. You may not be in a life and death situation in your workplace, but I can assure you, trust is just as important.

Cheryl Biehl says, “One of the realities of life is that if you can’t trust a person at all points, you can’t truly trust him at any point.” To earn trust, our actions must be consistent. If I’m only trustworthy in some departments of life but not all, it’s like cooking a huge pot of gumbo, then adding strychnine to the pot and saying that only part of the gumbo is poisoned. Now, give me a shot or two of Tabasco in my gumbo, but I’ll pass on the poison! Consistency is the key.

Trust can’t be compartmentalized.

Author of “7 Habits of Highly Effective People,” Steven Covey compares trust in a relationship to an emotional bank account. We can choose whether to make deposits or withdrawals to the account. When we follow through and do what we say we’re going to do, we’re making deposits. If we make enough deposits over time, trust is earned and our account earns interest and grows. When we don’t follow through or fail to honor a commitment, we make a withdrawal. If we make too many withdrawals, our “account” will be “overdrawn” and trust is shaken.

It takes two to tango, too. “He who trusts in others will be trusted in return.” One thing that is apparently tough for many leaders to do is to place their trust in others. When I was a young professional, I worked with a manager who assigned me an important project and let me have the reigns. Nothing could have been more motivating or inspiring than having her place her confidence in me. I truly wanted to do a great job so that I could show her she chose the right person.

Each time you let a team member know that you believe in them, they will want to produce positive results – they’ll run through a brick wall for you – anything not to let you down.

Think about someone who made a significant difference in your life. Maybe it was a boss, coach, teacher, or even a parent or grandparent. Think about how it felt when they expressed their confidence and their trust in your abilities.

Are you showing your team members that you trust them?

Are you earning your team members’ trust by acting consistently?

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Jennifer Ledet, CSP, is a leadership consultant and professional speaker (with a hint of Cajun flavor) who equips leaders from the boardroom to the mailroom to improve employee engagement, teamwork, and communication.  In her customized programs, leadership retreats, keynote presentations, and breakout sessions, she cuts through the BS and talks through the tough stuff to solve your people problems

Photo by Chibelyaeva Katya on Reshot

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