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Leadership and Trust

Leadership and Trust


Trust has come up in the last few weeks as a question from a group of young leaders I’ve been coaching. It’s often something we instinctively know. Often we can’t specifically identify why we trust one person yet we don’t trust someone else.

It reminded me of the great equation from The trusted advisor’ by Maister, Green, Galford

I haven’t found anything better and for those more left-brained people who like to see something specific rather than a ‘felt’ sense, it’s tangible.

Leadership Trustworthiness


Your trustworthiness is built on your:

Credibility – have you done this before? What’s your experience?

Reliability – do you do what you say you’re going to do?

Intimacy – how open and honest are you? Do you share personally?

Self-Orientation or as I prefer to think of it self-interest – do you take actions for yourself?

You can see how by altering any of those variables your own trustworthiness can go up and down.

Lencioni’s Five Dysfunctions of a Team

For teams, the model that I love is Lencioni’s from ‘Five Dysfunctions of a Team’. For an effective team there is a need for Trust as a foundation for all the others to build on. Based on Lencioni’s model, if a team doesn’t have Trust then healthy conflict can’t happen, there is a lack of Commitment, less Accountability and less attention to Results.

As in the following diagram and following the pyramid up, if there is a lack of trust then there is likely artificial harmony, ambiguity, lower standards and more ego and status.

If you haven’t read Patrick Lencioni’s ‘The 5 Dysfunctions of a team’ – I’d highly recommend. It’s written as a fable so is an easy read! A day over the weekend – you’ll have done it!

As he states members of trusting teams:

  • admit weaknesses and mistakes
  • ask for help
  • accept questions and input about their areas of responsibility
  • give one another the benefit of the doubt before arriving at a negative conclusion
  • take risks in offering feedback and assistance
  • appreciate and tap into one another’s skills and experiences
  • focus time and energy on important issues not politics
  • offer and accept apologies without hesitation
  • look forward to meetings and other opportunities to work as a group

I’m sure you can see teams that I have operated like this and perhaps others that haven’t!

If you would like to explore building more Trust as a leader, please get in touch.

Written by Claire, Aziz Executive Coach

With an international corporate carrier behind her, Claire works with senior leaders, often with technical backgrounds, from large global organisations, who want to polish their leadership skills to move forward in their career. To speak to Claire, email kate@azizcorp.com

Recommended Reading

Why Humility is so important for Leaders by Khalid Aziz

Collective Leadership by Khalid Aziz

Emotional Agility – The Choice Point by Carole, Aziz Resilience Expert

About Aziz Corporate

Aziz was founded over 30 years ago by Khalid Aziz, a media pioneer of his day who at 21 became the youngest ever appointed BBC producer.

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