Culture Leadership Trust

Leaders vs Managers

We’re afraid to provide people with the autonomy to do their work as they see fit and make the right decisions in the company’s interest.

Why it always boils down to trust

There are days I start writing, and twenty minutes later, my insight is nearly ready. I do a grammar check, then leave the text for a few days.

A few days later, I reread the text, make some corrections, and then schedule it for distribution to my readers.

Sometimes, I start all over when I don’t like what I write.

Today, I’m slow to put my first words on paper.

The topic for today is trust, growth cue number 7 in my playbook. There are so many angles to write about the topic of trust, and I’m indecisive about which angle to choose.

In my playbook, trust is preceded by alignment and succeeded by show-up. I could have placed trust probably everywhere, but I chose this position deliberately.

Because this is the point where my playbook bridges from being to doing, from thinking to action, from strategy to execution.

“Trust is the glue,” Stephen R. Covey quoted in his book “Speed of Trust.”

He added in his book that “trust is the foundational principle that holds all relationships.”

One of the components where trust plays a pivotal is the future of work.

The future of work is a topic near and dear to my heart.

Already for many years. In 2008, I was part of a group that designed a future of work strategy for the company that employed me.

I dare to say that what we designed and presented was progressive.

We put each employee at the center of our strategy. We advocated for a strategy that was more adaptive to the needs of individuals.

We recommended that the company move away from its ‘one size fits all’ way of looking at work.

It was 2008, and the company was not ready to adopt a more individualized approach.

We were successful with elements like values design, and simplified organizational structures, but the part about tailor-made work profiles for our employees was considered too progressive.

Today, thirteen years later, and in the midst of a pandemic, the topic is hotter than ever but still highly controversial.

And the problem is trust.

We don’t trust our people to do the right thing.

We’re afraid to provide people with the autonomy to do their work as they see fit and make the right decisions in the company’s interest.

We build in controls to ensure we get the outcomes we need.

Control is the opposite of autonomy.

Don’t get me wrong. This model works. It works very well. It’s just sub-optimal. As long as we get what we budgeted, we’re happy.

But we’ll never know how much more would have been possible.

This is the point where leadership gets separated from management.

Leaders are curious to find out what else is possible.

Leaders are willing to take a risk and design an organization that promotes autonomy over control.

Leaders also understand that this vision requires a strong culture, a framework for decision-making, and a talent pipeline.

Leaders invest time in building trust within the organization.

Because they know that trust is the glue between vision and reality.

Your turn: Leader or Manager?

Do more of what makes you happy!


NB. This is the seventh publication in a series of ten connected to the 10 cues in my playbook “MIND.SET.GROW. – 10 life-changing cues for success and significance”.

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