The Yes Blog

Trust-based Leadership is a bit like carrying eggs

Trust-Based Leadership Hack: Our Obsession With Loss is Costing Us!

Trust-based Leadership is a bit like carrying eggs
Trust-based Leadership is a bit like carrying eggs

Trust-based leadership is trickier, more important, and simpler than people acknowledge.

My fear of loss sabotages my dreams for me and my company.

And so does yours.

Maybe you’ve read Stephen M.R. Covey‘s book, The Speed of Trust. Its thesis is that as trust goes up, the speed of business goes up and the cost goes down.

When we leaders mistrust, it’s not our teams we’re not trusting. It’s ourselves.

I know, I know… very cryptic. Sounds woo-woo. “Thanks a lot, Mr. Oracle.”

I’ll elaborate.

Elaborating On Self-Trust

When you turn things over to your lieutenant, you’re not saying, “I know you’ll be perfect.” You’re saying, “You’re not going to make any mistakes we can’t recover from.”

So ask yourself… What are the mistakes you cannot recover from? How much trust do you have that YOU can lead the recovery from what mistakes and/or what breaches in integrity?

Maybe you’ve heard this from me before…


We’re waiting for others to EARN our trust before we’ll ENTRUST them with:

→ Keys to the shop (literal or figurative)
→ Communication with our customers
→ Decisions about MAJOR expenditures
→ Decisions about BIG risks
→ Decisions about ITTY BITTY expenditures
→ Decisions about MINOR risks
→ Insight into our weaknesses
→ Knowledge of our mistakes
→ Visibility into our insecurities

When you withhold trust:

1)You’re communicating to the individuals on your team…
* I don’t trust you
* You are not worthy of my trust
* You cannot trust me
* We are not safe
* You are not safe

2) You’re communicating to yourself!
* I am alone
* I have no one to turn to
* My success is at risk
* If something undesirable happens, I cannot recover
* I am not safe

And what do we do when we don’t feel safe?

We curl up. We armor up. We hoard information. We hoard decision making. We struggle to entrust anyone. We refuse to give up control to anyone. We become untrustworthy, and our teams don’t trust us.

So we feel less trusting. We’re exercising fear-based leadership, not trust-based leadership.

And, it’s a vicious cycle.

Intervening With Trust-Based Leadership


If you are not FEELING TRUST, tell yourself, “This is my fear of loss talking.” Also tell yourself, “I’ve recovered from what I thought was devastating horror before.” Look at the worst case scenario. Recognize, “That’s highly unlikely. And it’s totally recoverable.”

Trust yourself. Trust your judgment. After all, you chose these people in the first place. Trust your ability to catch and recuperate from missteps. And MOST OF ALL, trust trust. The rewards of entrusting your team implicitly are enormous. The risk exists only in the individual instances of entrusting someone. Overall – as a whole – trusting trust is a sure bet.