Our guest author is Greg Link, co-founder and leader of The Global Speed of Trust Practice, a fast-growing leadership consultancy committed to influencing influencers to grow their careers and their organizations at The Speed of Trust.
In our work, we often ask business owners and entrepreneurs around the world to reflect on their lives or careers and to identify a time when someone took a chance on them, extended trust to them or maybe believed in them even more than they believed in themselves. Whenever we do this, without exception, the feeling in the room changes. People become deeply touched and inspired as they recall their experiences and acknowledge with gratitude the impact others have had in their lives. And they become even more inspired when we invite them to share each other’s experiences.
We encourage you to take a minute now and do the same thing. Think of someone who extended trust to you. Who was it? What was the situation? What difference has it made in your life?
Smart Trust business owners and entrepreneurs in all walks of life lead in extending trust to others. In doing so, they attract talent and build the capacity and confidence of those who are trusted. They unleash human potential and multiply performance. They inspire reciprocal trust in both directions — back to those who extended it and forward to others who could benefit from it. They help create high-trust cultures that generate greater prosperity, energy and joy.
In order to attract talent and grow trust in your existing team, your company, your community, your family or your relationships, someone has to take the first step. That’s what leaders do. They go first. They lead in extending trust. In fact, the first job of a leader is to inspire trust, and the second is to extend it. This is true whether a person has a formal leadership role, such as CEO, business owner, manager or parent; or an informal role of influence, such as work associate, marriage partner or friend.
In the exercise described above, after asking leaders to reflect on their experience when someone extended trust to them, we then ask, “When have you led out in extending trust to someone else?” This often brings people up short as they realize that they have missed opportunities — sometimes many opportunities — to extend trust, to initiate the upward cycle, to generate prosperity, energy and joy.
You might want to think about your own experience. Have there been times when you extended trust to others and really made a difference in their lives? Have there been times when you didn’t, but now perhaps wish you would have? Have you not extended trust and missed out on hiring a Jeremy Lin? (New York Knicks)
Bottom line: If we’re not inspiring and extending trust, we’re not leading. We might be managing or administering, but we’re not leading. We manage things; we lead people. And real leadership requires trust. As renowned leadership authority Warren Bennis put it, “Leadership without mutual trust is a contradiction in terms.”
Greg Link is a recognized authority on trust and business growth. Link orchestrated the strategy that led Dr. Stephen R. Covey’s book, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, to become the No. 1 best-selling business book of the 20th century according to CEO Magazine, selling over 17 million copies in 38 languages. The Speed of Trust is also a global success and a Wall Street Journal bestseller; it has already been translated into 22 languages.
Greg has taught Principle-Centered Leadership and The Speed of Trust and advised executives at numerous leading enterprises, including Boeing, the U.S. Navy, Sony, Chevron, IBM, Microsoft and many other well-known organizations. Follow him on Twitter @CoveyLink.
Register now for a special Best Practices webinar presented by Greg Link on Smart Trust. The Smart Trust webinar is part of our RingCentral Salon leadership series and takes place Thursday, March 1, 2012 at 12:00pm Pacific / 3:00pm Eastern. Be one of ten registered participants to receive a signed copy of “Smart Trust” by engaging in our interactive Q&A session via Twitter #SmartTrust, Facebook/RingCentral or on our webinar chat. Registration is FREE.