Leaders Need Trust, But They Can't Earn It
Trust is the most fundamental of human social needs. Without trust, the relationships necessary for social and cultural order fall apart. And nowhere is that more true than in leadership. Leaders who are not trusted have no influence.
Gaining the trust of their followers is thus a primary concern for leaders. But if they think that they can earn trust, they are missing a pivotal reality. The truth is, we cannot earn trust. Trust, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
Trust is not something we earn. It's something which others bestow on us. If they choose not to trust us, there is nothing which we can do to coerce them, obligate them, or compel them to place trust in us. Our job as leaders, then, is to act in such a trustworthy manner that we make it as easy for people to bestow trust upon us.
And to appear trustworthy, we must first look at ourselves from the perspective of those who lead. From our followers' vantage, what makes us worthy of trust? And conversely, what makes us undeserving of trust? This episode examines the crucial necessity of leaders approaching trust-building from the viewpoint of those whom they lead.
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