For a while he refused; but after words he said to himself, ‘Though I neither fear God nor regard man, yet because this widow bothers me, I will vindicate her, or she will wear me out by her continual coming (Lk 18:1-6).’
Three profound insights have given me new perspectives to life:
1. ‘Trust is the oil that nurtures all relationships.’
2. ‘No one is a great leader without having nurtured more leaders.’
3. ‘There is no true leadership without overcoming challenges or difficulties.’
What makes a great leader?
No one can empower other people without first trusting them. Liars are one of the worst people to associate with. When you join a new team or community, you must focus on building trust for a lasting relationship. The first step in trust building is frank communication. Are your colleagues free to tell you about their personal lives? Are you comfortable opening up to your workmates and colleagues about your current challenges, career aspirations and personal issues? Can a workmate ask you to help pick their children from school?
As a team leader, how do you deliberately build trust and create confidence within your team? Trust is the oil that nurtures all relationships, without which, people work as strangers together but not as peers thereby fail to leverage from synergy and mutual support. Without trust, no leader will delegate or empower the team to grow. Likewise, if one does not trust their wife or husband, they will not work genuinely together to grow. It is very surprising how some married couples keep their phones out of each other’s reach and passworded, to the extent of answering calls while locked up in toilets. Really! Any relationship built on a foundation of secrecy may not survive any slightest marriage test.
Tools to build trust. As a leader, you can build trust through deliberate initiatives. One of the tools I recommend is know your neighbor tool. Ask the team to write three statements about themselves of which two are true and one is not. Let the other person identify the false statement, such that any stranger would have failed. If both members are able to identify the false statement, then they have high trust levels. Continue this exercise among different team members. Another tool takes the trust test to another level. Have people sit in a circle on a round table. Ask each person to take two minutes to write answers to these questions:
(i) how many siblings do you have, and which of your siblings do you follow? How was your family life while growing up? What lessons did you learn from your parents about leadership, good or bad?
(ii) Which school/s did you attend, which games did you play and what lessons did you learn about winning or losing? Ask each person to talk to the group about themselves about these areas.
Use the above tools often. You will create team trust and cohesion faster than wasting time on initiatives like motivation speaking and off-site team building retreats which are about weight loss than getting people to truly know each other and build trust.
In the gospel today, we learn a lot about persistent. If you want something and truly seek it out persistently, you achieve it. Building trust among a team is a result of on-going effort. You must deliberately and consistently provide opportunities for people to encounter each other at personal level to truly know one another to deepen trust. I wish you the best of the week. As a leader, it is your business to build trust with the people you work with. In the next issue, we explore the other two insights.
Copyright Bernabas Mustapha Mugisa, 2019. All rights reserved.
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