Trust Fuels Productivity and Exposes Gaps in Leadership

What is the best way to expose untrustworthy people in your organization?


Best-selling author and founding pastor of North Point Ministries Andy Stanley believes that as leaders, the responsibility to establish and maintain an atmosphere of trust falls on our shoulders. When we create an environment of trust, great people will want to work with us, and untrustworthy people will be exposed.

Watch this video to learn why leadership hinges on trust. 

Trust fuels productivity, trust fuels productivity. Every one of you wants to have a productive organization, I mean that's why we do what we do. Trust fuels productivity. Here is what I wrote in my notes, you don't need to try to write this down. The message of trust is this, I just made this up, the message of trust is this, listen to this, isn't this where you want to work? The message of trust is this, "I think you are smart enough to know what to do and how to do it, and if you screw up, I think you'll tell me and then fix it.”

See, if there is a gap between what I expect and what I experience, I believe you're smart enough to know how to do what I've asked you to do and I trust that if you're not, you're going to tell me and that when you screw up you're going to fix it. That's the message, that is the atmosphere, that's the culture of trust. And as leaders we establish that and maintain it and it is, it is, it is, contagious.

One of the things I tell my staff at least once or twice a year in our staff meeting is I say, "Look, if you really want to make me mad as your leader or your boss, let me catch you running around with a WWAD bracelet on. What would Andy do? What would Andy do? If I ever hear that you waste 30 seconds of your time in a meeting with other people going, 'I wonder what would Andy do?'" I said, "I am going to be mad."

I will be far more upset about you trying to figure what I would want, than I would you doing something that you think is right and it being wrong because I don't want you spending time trying to please me. I want you to do what's best for the organization, and if you do what you think is best for the organization and as it turns out, there is a gap, I trust that you're going to get it right the next time.

But I don't want you running around trying to figure out what I would do, because in a culture of trust, I hired you because I believe you know what needs to be done and I'm trusting you to do it. And if you screw it up I think you are going to let me know and as soon as you know. Then you know what? I think you are going to fix it. And you don't have to sit around and try to figure out what I would do.

B. A culture characterized by trust, attracts trustworthy people. Now Listen to me, this is so huge, let me finish my statement. A culture characterized by trust attracts trustworthy people and quickly surfaces those who aren't. This is not intuitive. For you micro-managers I'm telling you, you need to underline this, circle this, the problem is if you're a micromanager, you don't know that you are, but the people who work with you know that you are. And if they just cut their eyes at each other and hope that you didn't see it then you know you've been nailed. Okay?

Let me say it this way, I'm about to tell you the secret, I'm about to give you the secret of driving out of your organization everybody who is not trustworthy. Now you are interested.

One. You'll never know who you can't trust until you trust them. In my notes I wrote this, "The quickest way to surface the untrustworthy people in your organization, is to trust them. The longer you refuse to trust, the longer the untrustworthy people can hide in your organization." You see how that works? You see, now this is why it is so important. You see, it's not intuitive to put, believe the best when there is a gap. But the faster, quicker and the more consistent you put believe the best, the quicker you surface the people you shouldn't believe the best about. Intuitively we say, "No, if there is a gap, I'm going to assume the worst until you prove you're innocent."

And you know what? This will shape your culture and great people don't want to work here. They want to work in the organization where I say to you, "I believe you know how to do what I hired you to do, I trust you to do it and if you screw it up, I think you'll tell me. I don't have to spy on you. And then I think you'll fix it. I don't think you'll continue to make the same mistake."

In your notes, I have this quote from the book by Jim Collins' book "How the Mighty Fall." Awesome book. We're in the middle of it with our leadership team, several of our leadership teams in our organization are picking their way through this book. Awesome book. Listen to this quote, "The moment you feel the need to tightly manage someone, you might have made a hiring mistake." The moment that it's like, "Well, I just have to assume the worst because she didn't get it right or he doesn't get it right and I have to tightly manage him." Jim Collins says and I would say "Amen," chances are you have a hiring problem and if you don't address the hiring problem you may accidentally create a culture where everybody begins to mistrust everybody else in the organization.

Andy Stanley

Leadership communicator, best-selling author and founding pastor of North Point Ministries Andy Stanley inspires tens of thousands of people. Andy founded Atlanta-based North Point Ministries in 1995, leading six churches in the Atlan...

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