How can you expect others to trust you and follow you, if you don’t trust yourself?
What often happens is that people get promoted to levels beyond what they are comfortable doing. Many organisations still don’t do leadership training, and even those that do, most often don’t teach leaders how to build trust in themselves and in others.
One of the first things I get leaders to do is to think about whether there is congruency between their organisation’s vision and mission and values and their own. You may be surprised to know that there is often a disconnect here – again, how can you then expect others in the organisation to live and breathe them, to sew into them, when the leader doesn’t even resonate with them? If there is incongruence here, it will show – in words, and in action.
Then I get them to consider their own expectations and needs as a leader, and what promises they have made to themselves in their leadership role. Evaluating that, and being honest about how well that all stacks up is challenging – but then one of the qualities of a trustworthy leader is being courageous and decisive, and another is being honest and acting with integrity.
Understanding what others expect and need of you as a leader, and what you have promised them is a critical part of knowing if, in fact, you can live up to it.
We had one case in an organisation where we were working with the executive team, and one of the heads of a department decided to ‘demote’ himself, when he realised that he simply could not live up to the expectations of the organisation and the people he was leading. He realised that he was constantly letting them down, disappointing them, and himself. His stress levels had increased, he had taken up smoking again, and he was frustrated by his lack of performance.
His actions, whilst they shocked the rest of the leadership team, demonstrated a great respect for trust, allowed space for someone else to step into that role and lift the performance of the organisation, and lowered his own stress levels significantly.
Trust brings peace, yes, but it is not the ‘soft skill’ most leaders believe it to be. It is hard work, and it delivers real results, to the leader themselves, and to the bottom line.
Do you trust yourself to lead?