CJD Logo

Servant Leadership and Restoring Trust


“I have found that by trusting people until they prove themselves unworthy of that trust,

 a lot more happens.” ~Jim Burke. Former CEO Johnson & Johnson

The last three concepts in Covey’s book, The Speed of Trust: The One Thing That Changes Everything, are Extending Smart Trust, Restoring Trust When it has Been Lost, and A Propensity to Trust. Today, we review the second to last concept, Restoring Trust When it has Been Lost.
We all have been burned. Maybe someone has broken your trust, and you vowed NEVER to trust this person again or worse that you will never trust ANYONE again. You’ve even tried to restore trust in a person, and it FAILED. Indeed, maybe there are situations in which trust can never be restored.
However, in life, at some point, we have all made mistakes. We ruined a professional or personal relationship. A family has been torn apart, or we make an honest mistake of having failed only to discover that our failure is being interpreted as a violation of character. Nietzche put is best when he said, “There are no facts, only interpretations.
Servant Leaders understand that the idea that trust cannot be restored is a myth, however difficult, trust can be restored and often even enhanced. The key is that the opportunity to restore trust must be actively sought after to establish it, grow, it, restore, it, and wisely extend it. No matter how trust has been compromised the path back is the same; Servant Leaders must restore their personal credibility and engage in behavior that inspires trust.
When we look at the 5 Waves of Trust that Covey has discussed in the book, we can see how trust can be restored at every level.
Societal Trust
Restoring trust on a societal level means that trust must be built in industries, institutions, organization, businesses, and countries. Suspicion and cynicism must be replaced with contribution, value creation, and ethically sound behavior.
Market Trust
It’s true that with the global market if trust is lost with a customer, nine times out of ten, that customer will never come back. But, using the 4 Cores and 13 Behaviors, integrity makes it possible to restore and enhance trust. It’s about service recovery, whereby the problem itself becomes the gateway to create even greater trust. Transparency is an essential tool to restoring market trust.
Relationship Trust
In families and personal relationships, when trust has to be restored, one must be willing and able to ask for forgiveness and then change their behavior and build integrity through character. Family relationships are far more significant and as such one’s willingness and openness to restoring trust is greater. In close, personal relationships, the very effort of restoring trust can make the relationships stronger that it was before.
The biggest trust of all! It is probably the most difficult trust to restore. When we make promises to ourselves (i.e. I am going to exercise more), and we violate that trust, we often beat ourselves up badly and our self-worth and self-value takes a dive. We begin to wonder if we can ever have faith in what we tell ourselves- if we can trust ourselves. Lack of self-trust undermines our self-confidence and make us feel unworthy. To restore self-trust, one must review and articulate the 13 Behaviors in one’s life. Here is a recap of the 13 Behavior for self-trust:

  1. Talk Straight to Yourself. Don’t tell yourself lies like I’m worthless, I’ve blown it. Don’t justify bad behavior. Tell yourself the truth and do what you need to do to improve.
  2. Demonstrate Respect for yourself. Treat yourself with as much love as you would someone else. Don’t beat yourself up and demand more of yourself than you would others.
  3. Create Transparency in your Life. Be open and honest with yourself about where you are today and work on being a little better tomorrow.
  4. Right Wrongs. The wrongs you have done to yourself are forgivable. Forgive yourself and free yourself to work on developing self-trust and confidence again.
  5. Show Loyalty to Yourself. Don’t talk bad about yourself- in your head- or with others. Stop putting yourself down.
  6. Deliver Results. In your life about the goals and ideas that are important to you, no matter what others may feel or think. Set goals and work to accomplish them.
  7. Get Better. Challenge yourself to develop skills and competencies. Seek new knowledge and constantly set aside time to develop your capabilities.
  8. Confront Reality. Don’t live in denial and keep your head stuck in the sand. Face what you need to face and move forward in confidence.
  9. Clarify Expectations. Be clear with yourself about what you expect and don’t let other expectations rule your life. It is YOUR life. Live it with clarity and joy.
  10. Practice Accountability. Follow your own inspiration. If you have an insight, intuition, or idea about your life, follow it and don’t allow others expectations to control your life.
  11. Listen First. Take time to listen to your still small voice follow your inner guidance. Do not be persuaded by the opinions of others. Do what you are guided to do from within.
  12. Keep Commitments. Make commitments to yourself and treat them with the same respect and dignity you would your commitment to others.
  13. Extend Trust to Yourself. Trust your inner guidance and instincts. No one has ever said their instincts sent them down the wrong path. Trust yourself to receive guidance for your life. Trust your heart and KNOW that it is right. The Universe will always provide for you and will work together for YOUR GOOD!

Phew!!! Good stuff, right?
As I am writing and recapping the 13 behaviors this morning, I realize that as an emerging and evolving Servant Leader, I have to revisit the 13 behaviors and hold myself accountable to them.
I said to one of my Master teachers one time, “How do I teach this stuff when I am still a work in progress? It sometimes feels hypocritical. They said to me, “Crystal, you don’t have to be perfect in that which you teach. In fact, you can only teach that which you are learning.” If we don’t honor ourselves, how can we expect others to?
The 13 behaviors are a clear and honorable path to strengthen the four Cores. You remember them, don’t you? You will increase your Integrity, increase your Intent, increase you Capabilities, and improve Results. It feels good to my soul to know that I can reflect on these each day and get better. And better, and better. In this way, I can become the Servant Leader that I can trust, and in turn that others will trust as well.
I have provided us with some heavy stuff today. So, rather than finish the chapter, I will rest here and let us contemplate on these ideas. Next week, I will conclude the thoughts in this chapter before we move ahead to the last concept that Covey talks about, the Propensity to Trust.
At the end of the day, I have gained much insight and awareness around the 4 Cores and 13 behaviors. I hope that you have to. These ideas can provide Servant Leaders powerful and authentic tools for restoring trust when it has been lost.
To Restoring Trust,
Dr. Crystal

Like this article?

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Share on LinkedIn

Leave a comment

Get Dr. Crystal`s latest book:

Bloom Where You Are Planted

Learn the everyday leadership applications that you can use in all walks of life, from the boardroom to parenthood.