My cousin Matt married his love Abby the weekend before last in Fredericton, New Brunswick. It was wonderful to witness their love and commitment in front of a large gathering of family and friends.
Like them, many of you have walked down an aisle and pledged to be true in good times and in bad. And what’s more, you’ve made this declaration in front of large groups of people, just as Matt and Abby did. (I have never done this…yet.)
You’ve been willing to make this declaration because you know that trust is the foundation of marriage. It’s the foundation of all our personal relationships. We don’t dispute this because we know what can happen when we break trust.
And yet, somehow in the business world, we don’t often invest in trust as much as we need to.
And we certainly don’t stand up in front of our company employees and promise to be true in good times and in bad. I believe our companies would be higher performing and more meaningful places to work if we as leaders became clear on what our people expect. We need to ask what our people’s implicit and explicit expectations are. And we need to be more intentional with our leadership promises and commitments.
Our vows could look something like this:
“I, Lisa Chandler, take you to be my team, to work with and nurture from this day forward. I promise to set the right direction and create meaningful work¹. I promise to do my best to engage you and hold us all accountable for the outcomes we want to create. I promise that the systems and processes we set up will help you do your work well. And I promise to keep growing and developing as a leader so that I keep pace, face complexity and uncertainty and lead effectively, in good times and in bad. I promise to consistently work to earn and keep your trust”.
Imagine what might be possible in our companies if our leaders made these public commitments AND did their very best to keep their promises. It is challenging work, yet vital.
Trust is a good place to start. As a concept, it is not as nebulous as it may seem. It can be broken down into some core components: being competent, believable, reliable, connected, and vulnerable. If you’d like to assess your own trustworthiness, email me and I will send you a Trust Self-Assessment.
Effective leadership, like a strong marriage, requires a foundation of trust. How about figuring out where you stand before you say “I do”? It will be worth it. Trust me ☺