The Lift Project: Leading for Results: Building and Maintaining Trust

“As trust goes up, speed goes up, and costs go down.”

“Leaders are great at building trust (to come on board). But once the time line gets going, can trust be maintained?”

Those 2 quotes from Henry Cloud from my notes for week 2 of the LIFT online class, Leading for Results have left me wrestling this week with the issue of building and maintaining trust.

Here’s one more: “People trust us to the degree we understand them.”

The challenge is leader’s fall into the trap thinking once they have spoken, people automatically understand. Even worse is the danger of when people speak and lay out their lives, we invalidate their concerns. We either deny or minimize or quickly dismiss what they say. Trust at that point doesn’t merely leak out of the relationship it quickly runs to empty. The best lesson I have learned in my leadership is to listen more, speak less. Ask more questions, less leading off with my answers.

The goal in leadership relationship is to get in the loop that Henry describes as “We understand people when they understand we understand them.”

The emphasis on understanding led me back to Stephen Covey’s communication principle, “Think first to understand then to be understood.”

When I try to short circuit that process, thinking that I am streamlining my time, I am headed down the road of invalidation. The quicker path is to build trust up. Relationship investment is not only about work and ministry, but also about personal growth, family and every day life helps me to understand.

What I love about team leadership with high levels of trust is we can speak the truth into each other’s lives. We don’t always agree, but we have learned to leverage our conversations by listening and understanding. My option A, their option B, many times has led to a greater option C than any of us had thought of in the first place. That flows out of a level of trust we have built over the years and a common love for the God who saved us, the church we serve and the path we have traveled together.

What are some trust builders in your relationships? What are some trust breakers?

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