Category Archives: Trust

Leadership and authority

SONY DSC“The disappearance of a sense of responsibility is the most far-reaching consequence of submission to authority.”
― Stanley Milgram

How does leadership and obedience to authority merge together?   Does a leader invoke thoughts of authority and subordination or does leadership provide an equal platform void of authority?

One model of leadership, servant leadership for example flips the pyramid upside down.  In servant leadership the leader serves those who are associated with the leader.  The model would suggest that there isn’t a command and control aspect to leadership and yet in many instances there still exists this idea of hierarchy and control in leadership.

Are you able to challenge the leader?   Are you able to have a voice that opposes the leader?

If you are a leader do others that follow you have the ability to oppose your authority?   As a leader are you in a position of authority?

What characteristic or set of attributes do you have that allows you to lead without creating this sense of obedience to your position?   Are people engaged by your vision?  Are people attracted to your style of openness and inclusion?  Are people desiring to be around someone who is vulnerable and authentic?

Better leaders give up authority to create opportunities for others to contribute more meaningfully.   In some place in  your life you are leading.   What are you doing to advance your leadership?   Are you empowering others or are you using authority to lead?

How would you answer the questions?

Living with the shame of “I am not good enough”

“We cultivate love when we allow our most vulnerable and powerful selves to be deeply seen and known, and when we honor the spiritual connection that grows from that offering with trust, respect, kindness and affection.

Love is not something we give or get; it is something that we nurture and grow, a connection that can only be cultivated between two people when it exists within each one of them – we can only love others as much as we love ourselves.

Shame, blame, disrespect, betrayal, and the withholding of affection damage the roots from which love grows. Love can only survive these injuries if they are acknowledged, healed and rare.”  Brené Brown, The Gifts of Imperfection: Let Go of Who You Think You’re Supposed to Be and Embrace Who You Are

Give that title of the post some thought.   What is the one thing that has stopped you from living out your life fully?    Is it the inability to admit that you failed or that you could fail?   Is it not being good enough and the fear of letting someone down is paralyzing?

Vulnerability is a key ingredient for trust.   Trust in organizations hides because there isn’t a culture of vulnerability and why should there be vulnerability when you can’t be vulnerable.  We stop short of being vulnerable because we fear what would happen if we were and even if we have permission there is a silent voice in our mind saying “Don’t say another word”  and we hesitate and withdraw our voice and our contribution.    “What if I am not good enough?” and that is what holds so many people at bay.

It is no wonder that 85% of people desire to do something other than what they are currently being paid to do.   What would happen if everyone raised their voice and said, “This isn’t the right job for me … “.    They won’t say it because they don’t have something better to go to and fear holds them back chained to work that sucks the life out of them.     “Who am I … “, and that voice kills innovation, kills creativity, kills excitement and kills contribution, “who am I” to have a voice, to have an idea, to have a dream and to make a difference.

It comes across as “who am I to have a purpose”.    The question “what is your purpose?” most often has a response of “I don’t know.”     Living without purpose  is like being a robot just “doing things” and hoping something good will come of it.   Purpose is the foundation for living a meaningful life.    What crumbles that foundation is the inability to be vulnerable to admit failure, to admit that it wasn’t perfect the first time and to believe that there was fault behind that failure that belonged to you.

Take a look at this video clip from Brene’  Brown, listen to her story, her explanation of what vulnerability is and isn’t and what shame is and how it leads down a path of personal destruction.

So much of what coaching is, is restoring that faith in the person that they are worthy of great things because they have greatness inside.   That greatness has been swallowed up in shame and that keeps vulnerability from doing its work, bringing you to greatness.

Take a look!

And if the video spoke to you or if the words on this page spoke to you then … click on that purple thing just below these words … and vote for your favorite coaching blog.

trust

“We’re never so vulnerable than when we trust someone – but paradoxically, if we cannot trust, neither can we find love or joy.”
Frank Crane

Trust sits at the foundation of relationships.   Relationships are the core of all that we do in life.   All of life is based on relationships and at the base of those relationships is trust.   Without trust there isn’t really a relationship.

Without trust a relationship is just a group of people interacting.   With trust a relationship is about a team and teamwork and receiving the best of what the team has to offer.

Without trust people hold back, they don’t put in their full selves into their work, their relationships, their marriage, their friends or anything for that matter.   It is a well known fact that people don’t put their full effort into the work they do, they hold back for many reasons and one of the big reasons is trust.    Why say what you really believe if that belief is going to be ridiculed or worse.   Why become vulnerable if you know that the other person, the other side has no interest in what you have to say.

It takes strength of character to trust and to trust authentically.   Being vulnerable and sharing something that exposes a weakness can be used as a weapon if there isn’t trust, trust that information shared is not used in a negative way.   In other words when people judge others trust is eroded.   People want to feel safe in a relationship and if they share their deepest fears or secrets they want those fears to be kept private and not to be judged by their fears.

If organizations cultivated trust and allowed people to express themselves freely those organizations could experience greater participation, greater productivity, and better results.    Cultures that use retribution or intimidation to manage people would have to radically change.   Leaders would have to start leading and express their fears and vulnerabilities before trust could trickle down through all levels of the organization.   High performing cultures have recognized that trust is an essential ingredient for success.

What is the level of trust in the organization you work for?

What is the level of trust in your closest relationship?

What would need to change?

Leadership is self-development

A lot has been written about leadership, leadership development and being a leader and yet more and more books are written about leading.   Top leadership development experts like John Maxwell pump out books year after year exhorting would be leaders to “be” a leader.

The top leadership development experts continue to inspire and move people to develop their leadership skills?  Why?

What would happen if we had great leaders in every organization, every non-profit, every community activity, every neighborhood and in every household?   Things would change.

Here are a few things from a list of things people can do to become a better leader and they aren’t hard to do.  It just takes thinking about leadership consciously, practicing leadership consciously and living leadership consciously.

Here’s a good one, “don’t micromanage“.   How many people in leadership positions micromanage?   Some say they don’t and then out of habit give direction rather than helping others find direction.   Micromanagement is faster some say and micromanagement leads to an exact result.   Certainly working with someone to develop their skills and talents takes more work initially.   The end result though is someone who is more passionate about the work they do and it takes less time to “manage” someone if they can solve problems rather than asking for permission to own their work.

Micromanagement is often a result of a manager/leader who is not confident in themselves.  They don’t trust who they are and as a result they don’t trust others either.   A micromanager  has difficultly in letting go and letting others get going.   In most cases the result of someone that is being micromanaged will never be good enough.   The micromanager will insist on a level of perfection that is unobtainable thus setting up the employee for failure.   The micromanager will assert a “BLM” (Be like me) attitude that all their cohorts should exhibit.   Differences in opinion, style and thoughts are often discarded by the micromanager as it is only their agenda that matters.

Those who work for a micromanager may never fully be able to utilize all their strengths and talents.    The micromanager has to first realize they are not leading effectively and then to get help so that they can become a leader and develop the potential in others.

For the micromanager a good first step would be to absorb the advice of John Gailbraith  when he wrote,  “All of the great leaders have had one characteristic in common: it was the willingness to confront unequivocally the major anxiety of their people in their time. This, and not much else, is the essence of leadership.”

transparency brings about trust …

Creating an environment where is trust exhibited is needed more and more in organizations of any size today.  With the hyper-competitive pressures of the business world there is a need to maximize the output from every person involved in the organization and doing it while not creating an environment that over emphasizes work as well.   When work is overbearing or where the work becomes more important than the relationships then organizations productivity starts to falter and burnout becomes a potential issue within the organization.

When the lines of communication begin to become opaque the work becomes harder to do because the honest feedback that is necessary for systems to correct themselves is missing.  People who are left wondering what to do will do what they perceive is the right thing to do and may result in the collapse of a variety of processes.   When management begins to understand the systems are dysfunctional the damage has already been done.  Activity remains high while productivity declines.  In many cases the people are held accountable for the results yet at the root of the issue are failed systems and processes.   The communications systems, the human to human interactions, are vital for organizational success.

Transparent communications in an organization allow for high levels of feedback and good feedback can be used to correct issues and problems.   What organization wouldn’t want better results?   What employee wouldn’t want to be able to bring issues to the surface without feeling like they were doing the wrong thing?   When there is a lack of transparency in the organization the likely outcome is an undercurrent of fear and mistrust.

Transparency and trust are tightly linked in the communications dance that is required in our organizations today.    The greater the transparency the better it is for the individuals that work in the company and that will help produce better results.

Trust and transparency are linked and the results show that having transparency improves trust.  What organization wouldn’t do better to create more trust within its ranks?

How trustworthy is your organization?   How transparent are the communications?

the art and practice of humility

HEART in coaching with HEART has more meaning than just the word HEART.  HEART means, humility, encouragement, acknowledgement, relationships and trust.

Having HEART means working on those five life essentials daily and it means reflecting on each element and asking the question “Did I perform them well?” In our society standing out is more important than letting others shine.

Wayne Mack writes from his book “Humility” this definition, “… a truly humble person is not arrogant and assuming in his relationship with people”.    The value opposite of humility is pride.  Pride says that “I am” all that is, I am all that others need to see or hear.  In other words pride is putting the center of focus on the individual rather than away from it.

Practicing thankfulness is one way to begin to defeat pride.   Being thankful for all of life including other people is emblematic of those who are humble.   Putting others first in all of life is an act of humility.

Pride says, “I am better than ___________”.   Pride has no room for others.

If pride takes over a person’s life then there is little room for others to share or play a part in that person’s life.  If pride pushes other people away, humility draws other people closer.

The humble person has to be able to manage emotions well, anger, bitterness, impatience, and defeatism all have to be mastered and that takes time and effort.

How would you describe yourself, humble or proud?

Do you have difficulty with pride?

Do you practice humility?

The real deal

What is the real deal?

What is authentic about anything?

When something is authentic we say that it is the fully trustworthy article.   When we say a person is authentic we are saying that they truthfully represent themselves in all facets of their life with honesty and truthfulness.

In leadership the requirements for a leader are to be authentic.  A leader that is trustworthy, a leader that is genuine, a leader that is honest, a leader that is interested in the follower is a true or authentic leader.

Why is authenticity important?   Would you trust a person who represented themselves in one way and acted in another?   We search for congruence in action and word in most people but especially in a leader.

This above all:
To thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man.

~ Hamlet, Shakespeare

Being Transparent

Like a looking glass into our soul. Often it is something that isn’t done. It is a way to keep our true self from being seen by others. Being transparent and showing your inner light to others is not something everyone does.

Hiding self from others for fear of rejection, or because of a lack of self-confidence, or because there are deep scars, or because there is a smoldering wound, or because there is a broken heart, or because there is an unfilled void is not the path towards greater happiness. Living a transparent life is a choice that must be made. Living behind a veil will in many cases diminish the fullness of life.

How does being transparent help bring about a better life? When there are no secrets, no deep voids, no fear then power that was coming from others comes from within. Power from within is continuous, it is free, it is brighter and of better quality.

Transparency gives power away. Initially it takes power, courage and confidence to release the darkness that prevents being transparent. It takes time to test it … does it really release power or does it consume power?

Think about it from the perspective of a leader. Which leader has more power, the one that shows what is inside or the one who shrouds things in mystery? The transparent leader will acknowledge the faults, the foibles, the failures they have experienced. They will admit their shortcomings. What happens when a person reveals their inner-self to others? Do they become genuine and authentic? Do they become real people just like everyone else? Do they have the ability to relate to others?

If you want to find out what a big obstacle the ego really is, try to come together with other people in genuine transparency. Transparency means radical authenticity, free from ego defenses and impure motives. It’s the ultimate challenge to the ego. You could sit on a meditation cushion until you dropped dead and never have your capacity for radical transparency tested. The real test, for all of us, is in relationship. Come together. When there’s radical transparency and the ego steps aside, each single individual in that extraordinary collective context has access to the power and depth and clarity of the enlightened mind. And that’s when enlightenment really starts to take on new meaning and significance for us all.”

Andrew Cohen
London, March 2004

Transparency is sliding aside the curtains of the soul revealing its character. It is not easy or quick to do if there have been many years, many scars, many fears that stand in the way. The opaque window will neither let in light nor let light out.

Dostoyevsky wrote, “Every man has reminiscences which he would not tell to everyone but only to his friends. He has other matters in his mind which he would not reveal even to his friends, but only to himself in secret. But there are other things which man is afraid to tell even to himself, and every decent man has a number of such things stored away in his mind.”

Transparency reveals the character of a person. Transparency informs others of the integrity of a person. Information that threatens the self threatens self-esteem. Threats create anxiety and the anxiety transforms our character. The reason it damages the character is due to the nature of the internal self-talk that takes place – generally negative. Transparency will remove the need to hide from the issues which generate anxiety. The lack of anxiety will naturally result in self-talk that is positive – the self will not be talking down the self but rather acknowledging the self in a positive form.

The idea that the truth will set us free is an outcome of transparency. Working towards transparency might be better done with someone that can be trusted. Exposing the darkness will require a trusted relationship so that the surfacing of the negatives can be done safely and without repercussions.

Transparency allows one to shift from hiding behind pretense to genuine living.

In a journal write down those things that prevent you from living transparently?

What can you do to become more transparent?

What risks are you willing to take?

What benefits do you think you would obtain by living transparently?

true friend

“It is the best and truest friend who honestly tells us the truth about ourselves even when he knows we shall not like it. False friends are the ones who hide such truth from us and do so in order to remain in our favour.” R. C. H. Lenski

Trust

What about trust? Trust is something we all need to have exist but how do we earn it, display it and keep it? It seems as if trust is very fragile on one side and very difficult to construct on the other. We give everyone some basic amount of trust and if we desire more than we have to earn that trust. To earn more trust we have to be engaged in doing something, perhaps it is honoring a commitment, delivering on a promise or being reliable. Each time we do those things it is like earning interest on a bank account. We only earn a little and it takes a long time to accumulate a high level of trust.

It also seems that in one instant that trust can be wiped away. What we save can be lost or we can lose far more quickly than we can save it up.