Servant Leadership and Trust

Antrustimagesnouncement: We begin our summer review of the book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything by Stephen M. R. Covey. Covey discusses five waves of trust, and we will look at each one in detail. I hope that you are enjoying your summer and I look forward to your continued support!

“Our distrust is very expensive.”

~Ralph Waldo Emerson

Stephen Covey (Stephen R. Covey’s son) defines trust in his book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything as something that, “You know when you feel it.”

Trust in relationships is built on confidence. If you have confidence in a person, perhaps a boss, a coworker, a family member, or friend, the relationship feels good, there is good communication, you can get tasks done quickly, and you enjoy the relationship.

On the other hand, if you are involved in a low-trust relationship, it may feel like communication is broken, things do not get done quickly, there are constant misunderstandings, and the relationship is tedious, cumbersome, and draining. Indeed, there are many differences between high and low-trust relationships.

Organizationally speaking, trust within companies and businesses has declined. Recent research shows:

  • Only 51% of employees have trust and confidence in management and leadership.
  • Just about 36% of employees believe their managers, supervisors, and leaders act with honesty and integrity.
  • A whopping 76% of employees have witnessed illegal or unethical behavior on the job. Behavior that if exposed, would violate the public trust.
  • The number one reason why people leave their jobs is due to a bad relationship with a boss.

What can be done about increasing trust on the job? Cynics often ask if trust can be measured. Can trust be seen as an economic driver? Well, Covey makes the case that it can. Trust affects two outcomes; speed and cost.

This insight says that when trust goes down, speed will also go down, and costs will go up.

↓     Trust     =     ↓     Speed     ↑    Cost

Conversely, when trust goes up, speed will also go up, and costs will go down.

↑     Trust     =     ↑     Speed     ↓     Cost

Covey illustrates this through the example of post 9/11 and the new security processes put in place at airports across the country. Clearly, we need the extra security measures to protect safety. However, it slowed down the process and increased the cost to fly.

Covey goes further to say that trust is a function of character and competence. Both aspects are important to trust as character involves one’s integrity, motives, and intentions while competence includes your skills, results, track record, and capabilities. Covey makes a serious and noteworthy claim that the character side of trust is, “fast becoming the price of entry in the new global economy.”

Think about it. People trust people who make things happen.

Leaders give the promising projects or sales leads to those who have performed in the past.

Universities give the new curriculum to the most competent instructors.

Students who show promising skills get the coveted internships.

Servant-Leaders understand the balance between character and competence. These are the foundational building blocks of trust. Through the 5 Waves of Trust (Self-Trust, Relationship Trust, Organizational Trust, Market Trust, and Societal Trust). Servant- Leaders can build stronger, sustainable relationships, provide more opportunities, envision better outcomes, and have fun! What a concept!

Servant – Leaders know from a deep well within that trust impacts everything in one’s life. The way you lead, establish, grow, restore, and extend the one thing that changes the game- And that my friends, is trust.

To Trust,

Dr. Crystal

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