Do your employees worry?
I would like to share a real life story that an ex-colleague once shared with me when we were having a discussion about the critical importance of trust in your leadership. At that point in time, my colleague (let’s call him John) was travelling quite regularly. John had a little boy who was starting to notice his father’s absence and John had a difficult time accepting all the firsts he was missing out on. Finally when it came to his son’s first day at school, John had the opportunity to not only take him, but also to stay with him in his new classroom for the first few hours of the day. John’s wife had left early for work to give the men the chance to spend some quality time together on this special day. John had his son strapped into the car seat in the back, his backpack for school in the trunk and was all dressed up and ready to go when the car simply wouldn’t start. Despite several attempts the car was completely dead and just as John slumped over the steering wheel and felt panic setting in, he heard his son’s voice asking “Daddy, should I worry?” John looked in his rear-view mirror and gave his son a reassuring “No” upon which he watched his son’s face and body immediately relax as he sat back in his seat to patiently wait for his father to solve their dilemma and get him to his first day at school on time (which thankfully he did by the way).
Often in businesses, an individual or team may find themselves in a position where they face uncertainty or have less information at hand than what their supervisor / manager / leader does. It is of critical importance in these instances and especially in the face of great change, that these individuals and teams have a leader in which they can safely, securely and easily place their trust as irrevocably as John’s son had placed trust in him. A lack of this type of trust may throw even a well-oiled machine into significant turmoil during times of change. Significant turmoil during times of change can be very distracting and it can negatively influence performance – in many cases unnecessarily.
Are you 100% confident that your team has the same level of confidence in you as their leader, as what John’s son has in his father? Will they follow you anywhere? And should they? Establishing and building this type of trust within your team should be a key priority for any leader and will undoubtedly have an influence on the magnitude of their success. Great care should at all times be taken to protect this trust, as leaders often under estimate how easily the smallest action or inaction can crack or eventually even destroy it.