Trust – What Do You Have Without It?

Trust. Without trust in sales or in leadership, you have nothing. In his book “Developing the Leader Within You 2.0” John Maxwell suggests you list the top three people that you trust. Most of the time, this list includes members of your family and/or friends.

Now, list three people on whom your well-being and happiness depend. Most likely you have a boss or co-worker on that list.

If you’re a supervisor or lead an organization, and these two questions were asked of your subordinates, would your name be on their list of one of the three most trusted people in their lives? What difference might it make if you were someone they put on their list?

Steven Covey, in his book “Speed to Trust,” highlights just how lack of trust costs an organization time and money and uses the events after 9/11 as an example. Do your remember what traveling via air was like before 9/11? (Assuming you were around). At many airports, you could arrive a mere 30 minutes before your scheduled departure time and still easily get on your flight. There was a high-level of trust with the airlines and it was fast and easy.

After 9/11, trust went down and the amount of time spent traveling, as well as the cost of traveling increased. Now you are asked to arrive at the airport two-hours before a domestic flight and three-hours prior to an international flight. And what happened to taxpayer cost? It also went up. Way up. The annual budget for the TSA is 7.78 billion dollars!

Now, equate this to your business. What if your subordinates don’t trust you? What if most of the employees in a department do not trust the department head? What if one department does not trust the team members of another department? This slows your company down and costs you more money. Trust is essential in today’s business world both with clients and employees.

What’s the best way to earn trust? Model it. Journalist Arthur Gordon said “Nothing is easier than saying words. Nothing is harder than living them, day after day.” You must model trust to gain trust. And, you must model that trust day in and day out. We all know that it can take a long-time to gain trust, and only seconds to lose it. Remember, in leadership, a pint of example equals a gallon of advice.

Also remember that trust is a risk game. There are risks in giving trust to those you work with and lead. Of course, there are going to be times where you are disappointed. Use these disappointments as teaching moments as much as possible. But remember one thing when it comes to leading others; Leaders must be the first ones to ante-up. Go first. You’ll go farther and faster!