Dear leader: can trust be earned? Should trust be given?


Over the years I have spoken to hundreds if not thousands of leaders and there is a fundamental aspect that differentiates them and their effectiveness: how they handle trust

Category 1 – The Micro Manager: “Trust must be earned, I am not giving trust to people that i just hired, they need to earn it”

Category 2 – The Servant Leader “I trust my employees, until i don’t trust them anymore”

It goes without saying that leaders in Category 1 suffer because they are always checking on their employees due to lack of trust. They become swamped and slow down their people and organisation with their obsession for checking work done by others.

Category 2 leaders get the full strength of their teams by allowing them to make mistakes. This can only happen when people are trusted.

I have met some inspirational category 2 leaders, if you are reading this one you know who you are.

I have also met many Category 1 leaders and if you are reading this I am really sorry you tied yourself into a knot because you can’t trust your people, maybe a non leading role is better suited for you.

But i love you both regardless and i will help both regardless if you hire me

5 thoughts on “Dear leader: can trust be earned? Should trust be given?

  1. I believe your category 2 leaders are also there go help with guardrails so the mistakes aren’t too big. They’re there to help you when you ask. They don’t let you flounder.

    I’m also thinking that this is more a spectrum. category 1.. on one end category 2 on the other – not quite as black and white. Many managers are still finding their way, or how they act is a result of the organization and not their personal preference.

  2. how to deal when you trust people,, but they don’t meet the expectation many times..

    Then you have to keep follow up with them as they broke trust several times,

    So in such situation if a manager keeps on acting in trust mode , it can harm the delivery.

    So sometimes a person would have to move to another category specific to people

    What do you think ?

  3. Great question Gaurav,

    If i trust somebody and this person for a reason or another does something wrong, i simply talk to them and explain how what they did made me feel. I won’t ever tell them “you should have done X instead of Y” i would use nonviolent language and say things like “when you did Y i felt that it impacted my ability to help, etc etc, etc”

    How many times it is too many for the trust to be lost it is up to you, i don;’t live in your brain and i don;t know what you are prepared to cope with,. The fundamental thing is that i start from a fully trusting relationship against the trend of “you got to earn my trust”

    If somebody takes advantage of my trust and after trying to coach them they demonstrate that they cannot be trusted, then i fire them, simple.

    The delivery harmed is way better than the people harmed, at least in my house, you are free to choose what is important for yourself.

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