Well, Trust as some dictionaries define it has two main definitions and when we make a person as the subject in the definitions (and not a thing); one talks about the reliance on the strength or ability of a person and the other talks about expectation of something from a person.
And leadership can be defined as an art of guiding and/or directing and/or leading.
When we talk about Trust Based Leadership, I propose to merge the first definition of Trust with that of leadership. Although, I agree the two definitions sound familiar, I believe, there is a subtle difference between the two. The difference lies in the usage of words “reliance” and “expectation”. While, the first one leads us to a survival mode which further makes it necessary for us to take actions, there is a doubt about the second connoting action.
I have seen and have been fortunate to work with great leaders in my professional career who tend to exhibit the merger I talked about in the previous section. Now, what does that mean?Is it like, these people carry a bowl of trust and leadership and mix it with their coffee everyday?
Well, when the notion of reliance was brought into day to day execution by the managers/leaders and exhibited in their discussions with the team, the performance of the team improved. Exhibition of this reliance to the team is important and this makes the team members feel more accountable for the task they have been allocated with. This is probably because, the notion of trust is revered by all of us as human beings and, when trust is showered upon us; we try not to lose it.
Well, this is a software steward’s view; so I may not be technically fully correct when it comes to identifying reasons behind a particular behavior. Some example of exhibiting trust would be to say something like “I trust that you complete your task within so-and-so time” when a task is allocated to the team OR being open to accepting valid suggestions from time to time from the team. Again, I’m not saying, that, no matter what the size of the task is, the task owner will complete it OR a leader should accept any suggestion coming from the team. The point I want to bring here, is that, you would see improvement in the productivity and the overall quality of the deliverable when you bring that tinge of sharing trust in your leadership.
This trust based leadership approach has to be coupled with a leader generating trust for him within the team but; that’s another topic.
I wish you the very best in your career!