Big Goals Require Big Trust

“You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible”

-Anton Chekhov

Big-Hairy-Audacious-Goals (BHAGs), are great. When properly constructed and “bought into” by the team, they can be the driving force for your company’s long-term success. However, big bold goals carry the weight of uncertainty. And without trust, such goals are doomed to fail. So how do you get everyone on the team to trust you and where you are going? Here are a few tips to do so:

1. Lead with Trust – The first job of a leader is to recognize and confront reality. Doing so requires honesty and openness with team members – particularly when dealing with things that are difficult and sensitive. Leaders need to be crystal clear with their intentions, expectations, and proposed courses of action. Talking straight and focusing on facts is what team members expect from their leaders (if they don’t, perhaps you have the wrong team members).

2. Trust Yourself – Self-confidence (trusting yourself) is an essential element of leadership. Without getting into the psychological aspects of self-esteem, leaders can build and maintain their self-confidence by choosing to be 100% accountable (to themselves and others), and by sharpening their self-awareness. With accountability leaders focus on cause, not blame; and with self-awareness, they gain insight to working with others. Both of these conditions boost self-confidence, and enable leaders to make effective decisions in pursuit of big goals!

3. Trust your Team – Research shows that high-performing teams report higher levels of trust than less-successful teams, and savvy leaders are continually looking for ways to improve or maintain trust. Most suggestions for improvement focus on traditional team-building practices such as building relationships, recognition, increased learning opportunities, communications, leadership development, etc. – all good! However, perhaps the most effective trust-building practice (and one seldom mentioned) is a transfer of team control from the leader to the team – not an easy thing to do. It requires great commitment from the leader and a willingness to be a teacher and coach. However, enabling team members to become masters of their destiny creates the highest level of trust.

Trust (or the act of trusting) is a risk – but so is the pursuit of a big bold goal – so take it! When you do, you will discover the more trust you give, the more trust you receive … and you will be one step closer to your goal.

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