For an Executive Coach, supporting clients through complex organisational issues is commonplace. One of the big tasks is to create an environment where the onus isn’t always on the leader to come up with all the answers, or even be responsible for delivering results (although leaders ultimately are – sharing the load is key)
Creating an environment where talent can thrive sounds like a big task at best, and at worst a complex problem.
It is neither. Everything good and sustainable that emerges from organisations does so because of trust. Without trust, nothing can be achieved.
There are many examples of leaders who have taken their teams into incredibly challenging situations and been successful because of trust. Krishna Thapa is a former member of the SAS from Nepal. He led a team to climb Everest in 2015. When they reached the Khumbu Icefall, an earthquake hit putting the team in peril. Because of the trusting bonds between Thapa and his team, they were able to make their way to safety.
Trust has been described as having three key elements. They are:
Integrity – the quality of honesty has a moral compass.
Competence – a belief that you and the members of your group have a level of competence to do what they say they can do. In a trusting relationship does not over or understate competence.
Humility – teams have lower levels of trust in leaders who have self-interest as their key driver. Leaders who believed in stewardship and put the interests of the group above their own were seen as trustworthy.
Bill George, in his book, ‘Authentic Leadership: rediscovering the secrets of creating lasting value’, describes the temptations of leadership, where the pressure to achieve shareholder value or personal interest for wealth or fame takes precedence over serving the needs of the team. Members of the team can sense the inauthentic self-interest of the leader and trust is lost along with performance.
Trust works in cycles of relational fulfilment rather than as linear processes. This means that trust between two people becomes reciprocal as part of an ongoing building of a relationship. A great example was that of a chief executive of a government organisation who insisted on signing off every new hire irrespective of whether the new post was in the budget or not. The result was a downward trust spiral whereby each level of management learned to mistrust the next by exhibiting similar behaviours. Although these behaviours were subtle at first, Covid-19 brought untold pressures to this organisation. Combined with management productivity down to below 50%, stress and fatigue played heavily on the organisation leading to increased levels of absenteeism through stress.
So, in essence, leaders who exhibit competence, integrity and humility will be trusted by their teams and will be allowed to lead. Teams who are trusted to get on with their jobs will generate much high levels of performance.
You can find more about becoming an authentic leader in “Revealing the Leadership Secrets For A Successful Business: Lessons from high performing business leaders” which is free to download from https://woodward-consulting.net
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If you have considered coaching and/or mentoring, please drop me a line. I am offering free 30-minute sessions to establish if there is a need in the business community to assist with the unprecedented and rapid changes we all find ourselves in.
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Revealing the leadership secrets for a successful business
Lessons from high performing business leaders