The other dads and I listened intently in the Northern California wilderness. Our counselor, Malcolm, gathered us around to be sure we understood our roles and the rules. Our daughters were off on their own, anxious about the bandanas being secured around their eyes. We were preparing for the Trust Walk.
In their silence, our blinded daughters appeared unsure as they heard our footsteps approaching. I stopped just behind Carley, placed my hands on her shoulders, and whispered the three phases Malcolm had provided us: “Listen to my voice. You can trust me. I will never leave you.” These words trembled with emotion and conviction as they emerged from my mouth.
So began our trust walk. Thirty-minutes later, we successfully completed the treacherous trail full of rocks, tree roots, and sharp drop offs. The exercise concluded with our daughters removing their bandanas and an insightful debrief of our experience.
As powerful as those three phases are, trust is not about crafting the right words—it’s about the actions behind the words. Those expressions would ring hollow if Carley didn’t have evidence to believe she should listen to my voice, she could trust me, and indeed I would never leave her. Combining experience and words provides the foundation of trust that allows a team or group to successfully navigate the treacherous path of life.
An engaging and thriving workplace is built upon that very same foundation of trust. In organizations today there’s no shortage of impressive words and statements—yet the actions or experience behind those words have failed to make them believable. How about your followers? Why should they listen to your voice? Why should they trust you? Why should they believe that you will stick by them?
Engaging leaders demonstrate, beyond their words, that they are trustworthy. Out of the fertile soil of trust grows loyalty, innovation, productivity, and profitability. Cultivating trust makes perfect sense for important relationships, strong teams, and a successful business.
Leave your comments: What action will you take today to help your followers trust you on their walk?