Tag Archives: Trust

Trust Building Leaders


Image by Pink Sherbet Photography via Flickr

Building trust is a process that leaders can look at as a foundational activity. Trust is a complicated issue that goes all the way back to childhood, infancy even. An ability to cherish relationships and put trust in others is a powerful indicator that you value a relationship. Leaders should be subscribing to the innocent until proven guilty model rather than vice versa. You should put your trust in your team and let them prove that they deserve it rather than guard it and make it something to be earned. This will go a long way in gaining your team's respect. Kevin Eikenberry details this tactful trust model in the article below.

Everyone I’ve ever discussed the concept of trust with has a wide range of emotions related to it. While everyone wants more trust in their relationships, and believes that in an environment of higher trust they will be more productive, less stressed and generally enjoy their life and work more, we are often stymied, wondering how to reach these greater levels of trust.

Arriving at this conclusion comes from one basic mental model that assumes trust grows based on the other person’s behavior. This mindset is proven by comments like:

  • “They have to earn my respect.”
  • “I have to see that they are honest and dependable.”

When we see trust in this way, it seems to be outside of our control—we must wait for others to prove their trustworthiness in order for trust to build. 

…More at The Courage to Build Trust — Business Management Daily: Free

Leading with trust is something that takes time and courage. It is an effort to let yourself release a reactive trust model and envelop a proactive trust model. This effort will pay many dividends down the road in improved relationships that will flourish and can lead down many new paths. Leadership needs to understand this fundamental concept and embrace it to build a successful team. Leaders need to be building trust in the workplace as the foundation of their efforts.


10 High Performance Team Traits

watery view (unedited)

Image by kyeniz via Flickr

There are certain traits that high performance teams exhibit and leaders need to recognize and emphasize to improve the success of their teams. Leaders can encourage high performance out of their teams but it is important to know traits that are exhibited by teams to help nudge team members in the right direction. A high performance team is a unit that acts as one entity while performing tasks with ease and a seamless quality. A team that exhibits such behavior can be said to be in “flow” or in the “zone”. This is commonly witnessed in sports where a player can perform incredible feats that have never before been accomplished. Read the ten traits of high performance teams given by the folks at Talent Dynamics. 

1. Leadership. Instead of ‘I tell, you do’ the team members participate in the leadership of the team.  Each team member reflects the purpose and values of the team.  The team members use their skills and experience to solve problems.

2. Decision making. We make decisions in two ways, reason and intuition.  Both have strengths and weaknesses.  Reason is detailed and slow.  Intuition is sketchy and fast.  Different circumstances require different decision making processes.  High performance teams not only display a balance of both but they also know when each is needed.

3. Communication. Team communication needs to be open and transparent.  The goals of the team are regularly reflected upon, progress is fed back and problems addressed quickly.  High performance teams recognise that each member communicates differently and use the best communication channel for the information AND the team member.

4. Diversity. High performance teams embrace the diversity and difference in the team’s collective background and experience.  This leads to many viewpoints and a greater understanding of problems.  High performance teams use this diversity to make better decisions and create solutions faster.

…More at Traits of High Performance Teams | Talent Dynamics

Leaders can use this list to their advantage and start improving their success today. A high performance team is one that “clicks” and can be very difficult to attain. People are inherently different and diversity is a positive advantage when team members understand their role and responsibility but ego and a whole host of other emotions can impede the achievement of developing a “flow”. Leaders need to recognize when a spirit of competition rather than cooperation crops up and take action to alleviate this tension before it affects output. A team cannot achieve high performance without an atmosphere of mutual trust and respect. Leaders can recognize these ten high performance team traits and emphasize improvement in key areas to increase their own success. 


5 Ways Leaders Can Build Trust in Teams

Half Dome Cables, Yosemite National Park

Image by SteveD. via Flickr

Every good leader understands the role of trust in relationships among co-workers but might not know what they can do to help build or even solidify that trust. Trust is essential to any relationship whether in or outside of the workplace. Trust must be gained to start laying a proper foundation of mutual respect and awareness. Leaders can help monitor the workplace environment and assess the level of trust among employees by having frank conversations with them or simply engaging their team in conversations and gauging the interactions that take place. Every leader can lend a helping hand to their team no matter what level of cooperation and trust your team may have. Here are five actions to do from Nan Russell to build trust.

1. Operate with respect. Respect is an essential trust building component. If you don't offer respect to others, why would someone give you their trust? The respect component operates as a transparent window giving others a glimpse of who you are. In the words of Malcolm S. Forbes, “You can easily judge the character of a man by how he treats those who do nothing for him.” What are your actions communicating about you?

2. Eliminate the blame game. Finger pointing, assigning fault, or condemning others' mistakes diminishes trust. That ferret-out approach instills fear, not innovation; reduces engagement, not errors; and reinforces scapegoating, not accountability. But people who step up to accept their mishaps and acknowledge their mistakes build trust, enhance accountability, and enable future-focused solutions.

…More at Five Trust Building Dos | Psychology Today

Trust is greatly enhanced with active involvement among all parties and leadership should be providing the path to a respectful and trusting team. Leaders need to be aware of the relationships among their team and should monitor them to head off any problems before they occur. One way to do this is to routinely engage employees in trust building exercises that emphasize the five methods presented above. Leaders can take these five to-do items and put them in their toolbox for their next retreat or seminar as a way to build trust in their teams.


Leadership Must Build Trust in its Team

Harry Potter wants you to join him in helping raise $700 billion so the U.S. banks can remain open

Image by kevin dooley via Flickr

It is important that leadership build trust in their teams for a great working relationship. Trust is a difficult proposition in dire financial times. An ability to trust your team or your coworker is fundamental to success however. A trust survey conducted in 2009 reports that companies with the most trust in each other enjoyed the highest profit margins. Trust is a major driver of your business and you should do everything you can to build trust in and amongst your team. Andy Atkins writes for Fast Company about how leaders build trust to drive results.

Trust is a necessary component of successful leadership–leaders need trust in order to drive business results. Yet trust in business has been eroding for some time. Judging by many employee engagement scores, employees have been disengaging for at least a decade.

But there are important hopeful indicators–and some tangible, highly effective steps for building trust that leaders can take now.

…More at How Leaders Build Trust | Fast Company

He points to three specific solutions that will help build trust amongst your team to ignite their cooperation and nurture their trust in each other. Trust is based on performance and reliability so in order for your team to trust each other they must have a good working relationship where they work in sync and have the knowledge that they can count on their teammates to achieve results. Building trust in your team today is a win for team members, leadership, and the organization as a whole. What are you doing to build trust in your team today?


The Relationship Between Modern Leadership and Birds in Formation

Have you ever thought about the relationship between modern leadership and birds flying in formation? In this article posted on The Metro West Daily News, Dr. Sanjiv Chopra of Weston, author of Leadership by Example, talks about the essential qualities of a modern-day leader using the example of birds flying in formation.

The Relationship Between Modern Leadership and Birds in Formation

Exploring the dynamics of leadership, Dr. Sanjiv Chopra cites the shifting roles of birds flying in V-formation, taking turns directing the flock before dropping back to less strenuous positions.

In his new book, “Leadership by Example,’’ the Weston resident observes humans, like migrating birds, can rise beyond their expectations to the demands of leadership.

“Very few of us are leaders all of the time and in everything we do,’’ writes Chopra, professor of medicine and faculty dean of the Department of Continuing Education at Harvard Medical School, “but all of us can become a leader for a certain time, in specific situations.’’

For Chopra, the best leaders inspire by living exemplary lives and encouraging others to “dream big.’’

A graceful writer, he packs his 208-page book with stories about everyday folks like 9-year-old Melissa Poe of Nashville, Tenn., who, inspired by an episode of “Highway to Heaven,’’ started an international environmental organization that has planted more than a million trees in 15 countries. A native of India, Chopra draws from a global pantheon of great leaders throughout history, from Buddha to FDR, from Soren Kierkegaard to Gandhi, to illustrate the power of selflessness and idealism.

original article here

The next time you find yourself feeling a loss of energy from flying out in front for too long, we ask you to think about the relationship between modern leadership and birds in formation and then let someone else take the lead for a while.



The Importance of a Highly Adaptable and Anticipatory Mindset in a Great Leader

In our book on Enlightened Leadership, we highlighted 6 change-friendly principles and one of them was the importance of a highly adaptable and anticipatory mindset in a great leader. While in theory we tend write about Organizational Leadership, sometimes we see all too clearly how our principles translate into real world, life or death situations. In the article below, posted on Bloomberg Business Week, Alison Damast shares an inspiring story.

The Importance of a Highly Adaptable and Anticipatory Mindset in a Great Leader

Daniel Balcauski was leading a team of Kellogg School of Management MBAs through Patagonia, a wild, isolated region on the southern tip of South America, when he realized a blizzard was quickly approaching. The five students and their guide had just reached the top of a picturesque Andes mountain pass and ahead was what Balcauski dubbed the “granite slab of death,” a path that would be especially treacherous to go down as whiteout conditions and visibility worsened. Says Balcauski: “It was imperative to get off the mountain as soon as possible.”

As the appointed Leader of the Day, he helped the team find an alternative route off the mountain, backtracking up a cliff and eventually finding a spot in a river valley where his team, some of whom were in the early stages of hypothermia, could set up camp. For Balcauski, then a first-year MBA student, the most valuable part of the experience happened that evening, when his classmates, wrapped in blankets and sipping hot drinks, gave him their opinion on how he performed as a leader in a set of challenging conditions.

“I got immediate and direct feedback on my leadership style and performance that day, which was extremely valuable,” says Balcauski, now in the second year of his MBA program.

The importance of a highly adaptable and anticipatory mindset in a great leader is some times more than just making decisions that benefit an organization – sometimes it is a matter of life and death. Keep this story in mind when you feel resistance to change.


Inspiration is Like a “Magic” Ingredient

Inspiration is a “magic” ingredient when you need to get something done or to lead a successful project. It is very difficult to know what will inspire someone at any given time but one thing I do know is you will have to figure out a way to tap into the emotional and empathetic nature to inspire someone to take action for the sake of others. Avery Lynn’s life was short but her bucket list touched hearts around the world and inspired many people to donate money and volunteer hours and other services.

Watch this video from CNN and find your own inspiration

Inspiration is Like a Magic Ingredient

The 6-month-old girl whose parents created a “bucket list” blog for their daughter after doctors said she would not live past age 2 died Monday, her father said.

Avery Lynn Canahuati, who was born in November with spinal muscular atrophy type 1, died of pulmonary complications related to the genetic disorder, Mike Canahuati said on the blog Tuesday.

“In short, one of her lungs collapsed and she went into cardiac arrest,” said Canahuati, 31, of Bellaire, Texas. “I immediately performed CPR on her and was able to bring her back to life, but only for a brief period of time before she passed away shortly after arriving at the hospital.

Writing in the first person as if his daughter were the author, Canahuati created new bucket list entries during the week on the family’s averycan.blogspot.com website or their “Avery’s Bucket List” Facebook page. They included:

1. Wake up smiling.

2. Have a bad hair day.

3. Ride in an ambulance.

4. Get picked up by a fireman.

5. Meet a fan.

6. Talk to mommy & daddy.

7. Eat a cupcake & a Blow Pop.

8. Play with Play-Dough.

9. Play a practical joke on someone.

Click here to read the full story


If you don’t have one, start a bucket list today. A bucket list prompts the mind to consider “what if” and  inspires true exploration and discovery and that is always a good thing. Make sure inspiration is a magic ingredient in your life and in the lives of those around you.


Sensible Decision Making Skills

Sensible Decision Making Skills

All too often when we make important decisions (in our lives as well as in business), we allow our judgment to bias our final answers.  Essentially we subconsciously seek answers that merely confirm the conclusions we had already come to.  It’s the ‘I knew it” or “I told you so” way of thinking.  There is a way to avoid that biased way of thinking and improve your sensible decision making skills.  Consider this article, written by Ken Tysiac for CMGA Magazine, where he outlines five key decision making skills.

Sensible Decision Making Skills

Many faulty business decisions can be traced to “confirmation bias” that leads people to unwittingly seek information that bolsters what they want to believe, says Brigham Young University accounting professor Doug Prawitt…

Prawitt identified confirmation bias and a phenomenon the white paper calls judgment “triggers” as two particularly damaging “traps” that lead to poor judgment and decisions. He said considering other points of view is essential to avoiding confirmation bias and making good decisions…

“As you evaluate information, always sit back and take time to make the opposing case,” Prawitt said. “… If I’m [a lawyer who’s] going to go into the courtroom, I want to know my opposing attorney’s case better than he knows it.”

Judgment triggers often result from a possible solution’s being misidentified as a problem that needs to be overcome, the white paper says. When a problem is improperly defined, decision makers sometimes move forward without considering other, better alternatives.

Prawitt said that, about 2½ years ago, he and co-author Steven Glover, also an accounting professor at Brigham Young, began working with KPMG to create a professional application for their research on business judgment and decision making. What emerged was a professional judgment framework put into practice by KPMG, which also co-authored the COSO white paper. The framework describes a five-step process for decision making:

  • Define the problem and identify fundamental objectives.
  • Consider alternatives.
  • Gather and evaluate information.
  • Reach a conclusion.
  • Articulate and document rationale.

Original Story Here.

The five sensible decision making skills presented in this article are extremely basic.  In fact, they are too basic to imagine executive teams or executive boards would take them seriously.  When writing an academic paper I could see using these tips, but for business and important decisions in life, I think much more strategic information would be needed.


Trust, but Verify



Trust, but verify, ”said Ronald Regan famously throughout the cold war.  At the time, those words defined his leadership skills as he interacted with Russia and Iran during his presidency.  The power of those three words hold true today as they have been used consistently by subsequent leaders, such as President Obama. Take a look at this article written by Ned Lamont for the huffingtonpost.com.  In it, he demonstrates the relevance of the term in today’s politics.

Trust, but Verify

Last week President Obama struck the traditional pose of the commander in chief, standing on the DMZ, staring down North Korea through his high-powered binoculars. One leg of the axis of evil, North Korea, is not just developing nuclear capability, it has nuclear weapons, it has sold nuclear weapon technology, and within a month it will launch a rocket capable of delivering a nuclear warhead. Until his death, North Korean leader Kim Jong Il was caricatured as a dwarf in high heels with a propensity for R-rated videos, not exactly the rational actor one can contain with embargoes, diplomacy, and the threat of annihilation.
Often dubbed ‘the most dangerous nation on earth,’ Pakistan not only has an expanding nuclear arsenal, they have shown a willingness over the years to share their technology, for a price, with the likes of North Korea, Libya, Iran and Syria. But these unstable, not always rational, nuclear armed actors are not at the top of America’s list of monsters to destroy.”I know that containment might have been viable for the Soviet Union during the cold war, but it is not going to work with the current fanatical Islamist regime in Iran,” said outgoing Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman. Of course, there were similar arguments directed at the shoe-thumping fanatic Khrushchev, not to mention Mao’s nuclear-armed China, which spoke of sacrificing half of China’s population in a nuclear war to promote communism. Presidents from Truman and Eisenhower to Reagan and Clinton chose containment. “Trust but verify,” Reagan commanded, and the Iranian call for talks starting next month must focus on verification of the civilian uses of the Iranian nuclear program.  Original Story Here.

Trust, but verify” is not just a famous quote, but an intelligent and strategic tactic used by our leaders today, and hopefully, those looking to define their leadership skills.