One thing every leader understands after a few weeks on the job: trust does not stay put. We like to think that those within our circle of relationships look at the breadth of our performance and filter out the worst moments. Sometimes they do, but often they don’t.
Maintaining trust is a more challenging task than many of us assumed as we eagerly accepted a new opportunity. And trust is the cornerstone of success for every organization.
Lessons imperfectly learned throughout a long career:
- If you’re trying too hard to justify or explain a decision before you announce it, perhaps it is the wrong decision. Allow yourself time to step away from the cliff and reexamine your options.
- Brief, informal (and frequent) conversations with a wide range of people in your organization will help you with decision-making and decision-explaining. Have the conversations while walking through the workplace and avoid the presence of an entourage.
- Acknowledge (and own) mistakes quickly and with as much grace as possible and learn from the errors.
- Trust is more likely to occur when leaders understand and embrace the tension between confidence and humility. We need to have enough confidence to effectively engage our calling and enough humility to know that we can accomplish very little on our own.
Are you feeling that trust within your organization is not staying put? Refocus your efforts, get the attention of your leadership team, and seek to rebuild what you’ve lost. Morning by morning, new mercies we see.