Trust is our most important asset as leaders, when it’s broken, look out.
Whether it happens innocently or not, if you lose the precious trust that you have developed, it is very difficult to retrieve it.
The SNC political meltdown is a perfect leadership lesson.
I’m not going to hypothesize on what happened in Ottawa, only to say that for sure trust was broken in a variety of ways and it will take Canadians and people in the liberal party a while to put it behind them.
It is a perfect example of trust gone wrong, and a leader, supposedly being unaware of it, which in and of itself is a significant problem.
This is a wide open public story for all to see, but this happens in companies every day. And then leaders wonder why there is a lack of engagement with their employees.
Employees start to question what once was a given, they start negative water cooler talk, turnover increases, and at the end of the day results suffer.
If the leader doesn’t address the issue head on and just waffles and tells lame stories or excuses, it will not stick and the problem will linger. A toxic culture is usually the result.
Let’s take this very public occurrence as a lesson to all of us in leadership positions to not take anything for granted. We have to communicate, ask questions, and spend time with the very important people that report to us, ie; all of them.
Our role is to lift up those who report to us, to coach them, to help them be the best they can be.
Our role is also to deliver a vision and a strategy and execute on what our stakeholders expect of us.
Its extremely difficult to do any of that in an environment of distrust.
When there is trust, everything happens quicker, more smoothly, and more efficiently. You get to the issues and challenges quicker as people are not afraid to bring them up.
Creative new ideation, and innovation happen in a freer, open, collaborative environment.
There is a lot to great leadership, hundreds of books are written on the subject, but I believe creating, developing, maintaining, and living a trusting environment is the most important lesson of all.
And its something you can’t fake or snap your fingers and expect it to be so. You have to lead by example everyday to develop it over time.
Please feel free to comment on this topic of trust in leadership—not politics.
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