SETTING A CONTEXT OF TRUST
by Victoria Brodie
Effective leadership can only thrive within the context of trust. When a leader is trusted, they can then act as the catalyst of embedding trust into the culture of the organization they lead. According to Fairholm (2009), “ … the leader’s task is to build a culture of shared values where people can come to trust each other enough to work together. Trust is central to leadership in organizations because followers are people who choose to follow leaders.” (p. 37) A leader who is able to meet the expectations of their followers, demonstrate responsibility, and serve as a source of help not judgment, cultivates an environment which fosters an environment of trust. When trust is manifested it is empowering. When it is misplaced it is the precursor to defeat (Fairholm, 2009).
Trust manifests through a feeling of security, confidence, self-reliance, benevolence and integrity, all without requiring physical proof. As we continue to fulfill this circle of needs, trust increases. When we fracture the circle, trust is lost. In this, we realize that trust is an interactive, dependent process. It grows as we see evidence of trustworthiness, in our precepts of the experience being met, and diminishes when those precepts are not (Fairholm, 2009). As leaders, we are entrusted to nurture this process, and although we can look at trust through an organizational lens, it reads the same in across the board. Trust is about basic truths that, when not upheld, diminish a leader’s ability to influence, and leadership, at its core, is about influence.
Fairholm, G., (2009). Organizational Power Politics: Tactics in Organizational Leadership. Retrieved from http://www.eblib.com