For a long time, I believed a leader creates trust by extending trust to the team. How exactly do you extend trust to a team? Is extending trust even possible?
There are examples of where teams come together for the first time and trust seems to be immediately present.
Airline pilots fly with pilots they have never met. Despite not knowing each other, the two pilots seem to operate like a high performing team (thankfully).
I took my coach training through CTI. CTI courses always have two course-leaders in the room. Sometimes, the leaders first meet on day 1 of the course. Yet, these leaders operate like a highly trusting team.
Given these and other examples, it is possible to have trust right away. How does this happen? Why do so many leaders struggle to create trust?
Life is a mirror
“Life is just a mirror, and what you see out there, you must first see inside of you” — Wally ‘Famous’ Amos
Do you find yourself thinking “I don’t trust my team?” When you feel you do not trust your team the truth is you don’t trust yourself.
Trusting yourself is being able to see the truth of a problem and face it. Trusting yourself is like a muscle that you strengthen over time. Strengthening this muscle takes awareness and commitment.
If you want to trust your team more, start by looking in the mirror. How do you want to trust yourself more?
What about my original question, though? Are leaders able to extend trust? No, I do not believe you have the ability to extend trust. Trust is not something you can hand the team to be installed like software.
The idea of extending trust means you don’t have trust today.
What might be different if, instead of extending trust, you assume trust exists already? When you assume trust already exists, all the baggage of fighting against low trust disappears. When this happens, you might find it much easier to trust yourself too.
You’ve got this.