Here is an excerpt from Leadership Matters. It contains 31 daily insights to inspire extraordinary results.

day 28: Trust

Bernard Madoff scammed over 5,000 investors out of approximately $65 billion (yes, that’s a billion with a “B”). Like any crime that you read or hear about, it’s concerning to each of us. My reaction deepened as I spoke with an old friend whose aging parents had invested all their retirement savings with Madoff. I directly felt their real-life implications of broken trust as my friend’s parents considered selling their house, changing a lifestyle they had worked years to earn and became anxious about an uncertain final chapter in their lives.

Trust is the basis for all successful leaders and all successful relationships, for that matter. You cannot buy trust, but it is free. Trust is priceless yet can be earned over time. Have you ever tried to request someone’s trust? Maybe it was a team member, customer or a colleague. You may have wanted a decision to be made in your favor.

To overcome some initial disagreement and expedite the decision-making process, you might resort to “Hey, just trust me!” That statement is worthless. Either the other party already trusted you based on your past actions or they did not trust you and your request won’t change that. Trust is not spoken, it is demonstrated. Trust cannot be requested, it must be earned.

We need to earn and nurture our team’s trust every day – whether a team at home or work. A trusting team …

  • Is more open to change;
  • Delivers better service;
  • Focuses on finding win-win solutions;
  • Has lower turnover;
  • Shares unfiltered information to help the team deal with the facts and be successful;
  • Quickly forgives their leader if s/he makes a mistake.

Trust can be complex, so here are three simple steps to become more trustworthy:

  1. Serve your team’s best interests (rather than your own).
  2. Communicate all the information your team needs to be successful. Don’t make assumptions about what you think they can “handle.” Leaders who underestimate the intelligence of their teams tend to overestimate their own.
  3. Keep each and every commitment you make to your team. This is tough, so watch your words. Even a casual comment from a leader can be interpreted as a commitment.

We can all improve our trust-building behaviors. Inspiring leaders are bold enough to be honest with themselves and make necessary changes.

Now more than ever, your team’s success may come down to a matter of trust.

Leadership Matters is full of simple truths that everybody can use in their work and life. Read this little book and thoughtfully consider its timeless messages. It will make you a better leader and a better person.”

– Ken Blanchard, co-author of The One Minute Manager®