Hello, esteemed listeners! Welcome back to another episode of the ‘KnolShare with Dr. Dave Podcast.’ I'm your host, Dr. Dave Cornelius, a practitioner and thought leader in delivering value through conversations about business agility practices, coaching, and leadership. Today's topic holds the essence of generative leadership: ‘We Trust You To Achieve Our Goals.’ When leaders radiate trust, magic happens. Let's dive deep into the intricate dance between trust, empowerment, accountability, and success.
Trust is the bedrock of any flourishing team, and expressing it is pivotal in creating an environment where creativity, innovation, and agility thrive. But how do leaders go beyond mere words and ensure trust is deeply embedded in the team's DNA?
First, let’s understand why trust is crucial. A trusted environment enables risk-taking, promotes the sharing of bold ideas, and empowers decentralized decision-making. In simpler terms, teams function best when they're trusted.
Let’s start by discussing the strategies generative leaders can adopt.
- Open and Transparent Communication: Always keep the lines of communication open. Share the bigger picture and inform your team about the company’s vision, mission, and, most importantly, the ‘why’ behind decisions.
- Foster a Safe Environment: Encourage team members to voice their concerns, ideas, or questions without fear of ridicule or retribution.
- Delegate with Clarity: Assign tasks based on strengths and interests. Clearly define roles, responsibilities, and expectations.
- Empower Decision Making: Let your team make decisions. This might mean allowing them to fail sometimes, but these experiences will be invaluable in their growth.
Speaking of empowering decision-making, let’s delve deeper into decentralized
Decentralized decision-making is the idea that decisions are best made by those closest to the problem or challenge. It reduces the response time and fosters a culture of ownership and responsibility. However, leaders must instill trust and ensure team members have the correct information, resources, and training to make this work.
For leaders aspiring to be generative, emphasizing trust isn’t just a one-off task. It’s a continuous endeavor. Here are some essential topics and pointers for generative leaders:
- The Power of Vulnerability: Brene Brown once said, “Vulnerability is the birthplace of innovation, creativity, and change.” As a leader, showing your vulnerabilities can make you more relatable and foster deeper trust.
- Feedback as a Two-Way Street: Encourage feedback in both directions. Listen actively to your team's feedback, and ensure they are open to receiving yours.
- Celebrate Successes and Learn from Failures: Celebrate team achievements, no matter how small. When things don’t go as planned, view it as a learning experience, not a failure.
- Continuous Learning: Encourage your team to take courses, attend seminars, and engage in self-improvement. This equips them better and shows you trust and value their growth.
Generative leaders walk a unique path. They empower and delegate, but most importantly, they trust. When a leader says, "We trust you," it’s more than words. It’s a commitment. A promise. A relationship.
Here are four essential actions that generative leaders can take to build an environment of trust.
- Building a Trust Infrastructure: Trust isn’t built overnight. It requires mutual respect, understanding, and patience. To all the leaders listening, I pose this question: How do you foster a space where every member feels their capabilities are recognized and their potential is believed in?
- Empowerment: The Heart of Generative Leadership: Empowerment isn’t just about giving people tasks but believing they will rise to the occasion. It’s about looking at every team member and saying, “I trust your judgment, skills, and dedication.”
- Accountability: A Two-Way Street: Here’s the thing about trust - it paves the way for responsibility. But remember, accountability is a two-way street. While team members are accountable for their tasks, leaders are responsible for providing the right environment, resources, and support.
- Setting Up for Success: Trust does not mean abandoning your team to their devices. It means being there, guiding, mentoring, and ensuring the path to the goal is clear and achievable. Ask leaders, “Have I set my team up for success?”
Now, to truly understand the power of ‘We Trust You To Achieve Our Goals,’ let's delve into a story that beautifully encapsulates this sentiment.
The Story About the Phoenix Project of the fictional company ‘Parts Unlimited’
Reflecting on the fictional story in the book ‘The Phoenix Project,’ deadlines were missed, tensions ran high, and collaboration had hit a wall - an effective collaboration tax. People did not trust each other. I pulled up my Amazon Kindle reader and searched for the word ‘trust,’ which appeared 43 times. Some comments included, ‘I need someone I can trust to do the right thing.’ Others stated, ‘I shouldn’t trust this guy’ and ‘problems with trust between departments.’ What could erode trust the most in any organization is the failure to run payroll successfully. That means people don’t get paid on time, impacting the employees and family members. Their credit is affected, as well as the creditors.
Eventually, the problem was resolved. The heavy cloud of doubt lifted. Team members, once hesitant to voice out, were brainstorming, innovating, and co-creating solutions.
The Phoenix project demonstrated the need for process improvement to increase trust by developing the ability to measure success. The tone of the last chapter did not sound like the trust issues were entirely resolved, but it did improve.
This story isn’t just about the Phoenix Project; it’s a testament to what trust can achieve. The collaboration tax, the invisible barrier that holds teams back, diminishes when leaders say and mean, “We trust you to achieve our goals.”
- Reflect, Recognize, and Reward
Trusting teams is one step. Recognizing their efforts, reflecting on accomplishments, and rewarding the journey are equally crucial. Trust and appreciation go hand-in-hand in the playbook of generative leadership.
An interesting question -- Something to Ponder.
Your team has been chosen to carry out a secret mission by a mysterious benefactor. How do you maintain trust within your team while navigating the challenges and unknowns of the task?
To all leaders listening today, I leave you with this: Trust is the catalyst for innovation, collaboration, and success. When generative leaders say, "We trust you to achieve our goals," they make a powerful statement. They say, "We believe I n you, we're invested in your growth, and we're right behind you, cheering you on." When you trust, you empower. When you empower, you create an environment where everyone thrives.
That's it for today's episode of the ‘KnolShare with Dr. Dave Podcast.’ Thanks for tuning in. Remember, as a generative leader, trust is your most potent tool. Use it, nurture it, and watch the magic unfold. Until next time, stay curious and empowered. Keep sharing knowledge!