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Posts Tagged ‘trust’

Restoring Trust Can be an Enormously Positive Adventure

Friday, October 31st, 2008

When examining the great losses we’re seeing in the global financial crisis, one thing is very clear: one of the greatest losses we feel is broken trust. But all is not lost. It is a challenging path and a time consuming one, but trust can be re-built and restored.

In any given situation, both personal and in professional life, I think that the process of restoring trust can be an enormously positive adventure because you can redeem yourself and create newness. For example, when you have a broken relationship with someone, you have to learn to acknowledge your role in it, apologize, and  have humility. Then you need to find a way to involve the person in a process of coming up with a new relationship.

I sometimes use the metaphor of an Emotional Bank Account. Like a financial bank account, you can make deposits and take withdrawals from the account. When you make consistent deposits, out of your integrity and out of your empathy—that means your understanding of what deposits and withdrawals are to other people—those two things—empathy and integrity—that little by little you can restore trust.

Think of your own crisis you may dealing with—perhaps a broken trust at work or at home or with a friend—and think of how you can restore trust in the relationship. Examine your Emotional Bank Account with this person; it’s most likely strained because of withdrawals. Make a commitment to start making deposits that matter most to that person, and do it. Little by little, even with small deposits, you will find that the account will grow. It may take time. But over time you will find the cumulative effect of the deposits. Slowly, depending on the severity of the broken trust, you can find trust being re-built and restored, and new relationship will be born. Of course, this also depends on the other person, but you can choose to do your part regardless of the other person—to focus on your circle of influence. And you will find some peace, knowing that you’ve done your part.

Reach out to someone today with whom you have a strained relationship or someone whose relationship needs strengthening. Make a deposit in their Emotional Bank Account…and commit to continuing the deposits. And don’t forget making deposits in your strong, high-trust relationships—it’s what keeps them strong! Enjoy the adventure!

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Crisis Creates Humility

Friday, October 17th, 2008

Last week, Dr. Covey did an interview for a leading newspaper in Brazil. Not surprisingly, the topic of the interview was the global financial crisis and the concerns of these uncertain times. When asked to comment about this historic financial meltdown Dr. Covey first stated: “This is a time of great crisis. Crisis creates humility–pain humbles people.” Because of this, he explained, people often become more open and teachable.

Dr. Covey is planning a visit to Brazil in a few weeks where he will teach principles of effective leadership. He expects that business leaders in the audience will be especially attentive to the message for developing principle-centered leadership in a global marketplace where conditions are changing and creating new challenges. Of course, with new challenges comes new opportunities. Whether in good times or bad times, the key to great leadership is understanding moral authority versus formal authority. A leader’s role is to communicate the worth and potential of individuals so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves–to help them unleash their potential and respect people as an organization’s greatest asset rather than seeing them as an expense. Moral authority comes from being centered on principles, which are universal and timeless. Principles such as, fairness, trust, integrity, compassion, honesty are central to enduring leadership–both at work, at home, or in the community.

In reflecting on Dr. Covey’s words, I think Dr. Covey would challenge each of us to humble ourselves–to seek for more understanding, openness, synergy, learning, purpose, and self-reflection. Each of us is a leader–either in our roles at work, at home or in our individual, personal lives. Are we humble enough to center our lives on principles? Are we willing to learn the lessons that are before us and change our lives based on universal principles that are sure to create stability  and sustainability for us, even in turbulent times? Now is the time to humble ourselves, make profound changes and take full advantage of the opportunities that come from  of crises.

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The Leader Formula: The 4 things that make a good leader.

Monday, December 10th, 2007


Each week we will be asking Dr. Covey to comment on common questions. This week we ask: what makes a great leader?

Q: What makes a great leader?

A: My definition of leadership is communicating to people their worth and potential so clearly that they are inspired to see it in themselves.

Q: You often say that leadership is a choice not a position. Can you elaborate on this?

A: Because of the definition I use for leadership, the ability to become such a leader is a choice that any person can make; any parent or grandparent, any teacher, any coach, any co-worker, and friend. When I speak throughout the world, I often ask audiences,

“How many of you had someone in your life that communicated your worth and potential so clearly that it profoundly influenced your life?”

Inevitably over half the people raise their hands. I walk around the room and ask them to share their experience with how it happened, who did it, the impact that it had upon them, and if they, too, are making the choice to do the same with other people. People often become very emotional when they talk about the parent, the coach, the teacher, the formal leader, the friend, the neighbor, or the relative who really became very close to them and communicated to them their worth and potential. This is always an inspiring experience.

Q: Is there a formula for becoming such a leader?

A: I believe there is a formula. They are what we call the four imperatives of leadership.

  1. The first is to inspire trust. You build relationships of trust through both your character and competence and you also extend trust to others. You show others that you believe in their capacity to live up to certain expectations, to deliver on promises, and to achieve clarity on key goals. You don’t inspire trust by micromanaging and second guessing every step people make.
  2. The second is to clarify purpose. Great leaders involve their people in the communication process to create the goals to be achieved. If people are involved in the process, they psychologically own it and you create a situation where people are on the same page about what is really important—mission, vision, values, and goals.
  3. The third is to align systems. This means that you don’t allow there to be conflict between what you say is important and what you measure. For instance, many times organizations claim that people are important but in fact the structures and systems, including accounting, make them an expense or cost center rather than an asset and the most significant resource.
  4. The fourth is the fruit of the other three—unleashed talent. When you inspire trust and share a common purpose with aligned systems, you empower people. Their talent is unleashed so that their capacity, their intelligence, their creativity, and their resourcefulness is utilized.

I would add that these are based upon principles that build upon each other rather than techniques or steps that have to be taken independent of each other. These aren’t “management tricks” but real principles that guide a true leaders character.

The world is vastly different today and ever-changing. If we can develop leaders who can withstand and embrace the changing times by deeply rooting themselves in these principles of great leadership, then we can develop great people, great teams and great results.

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