Leaders Build Trust by Getting Better

Commit to continuous improvement. Increase your capacity by being a constant learner. Seek feedback both formally and informally, and act on it. Thank people for feedback and never consider yourself above feedback. Know your current knowledge and skills will be insufficient for future challenges and opportunities.

The opposite of getting better is to deteriorate, thus becoming irrelevant. Whereas deteriorating can be rare, a common “counterfeit” version of this behavior is resting on your laurels. This entails making minor tweaks or trendy improvements which don’t take hold long-term. It also includes reading and learning, and not applying what you’ve learned. Additionally, trying to force-fit everything into what you’re already good at doing qualifies as resting on your laurels.

The Group Dynamic Servant Leadership Model consists of eight virtues, and number six is “Stretching and Growing.” While it is down the list, it’s the visual foundation of the graphic representation of the model.

It is easy to fall victim to the Success Deception–the idea that you are doing well because of everything you have done before. Therefore, you keep doing the same thing in order to get the same result. It sounds good, but what gets missed is this: everything you have done before wasn’t what you were born doing. Along the way, you learned and adapted. We have to remember that learning, adapting, stretching, and growing are behaviors endemic to “everything I’ve done before.”

What to do instead?

Say things like this:

  • Where can I get better?
  • How am I doing now?
  • What specifically do we need to do better when it comes to our systems and structures?
  • What is the payoff on trust if we make this improvement?
  • How much trust do we lose if we do nothing differently going forward? (The “Trust Tax”)
  • How will we get regular feedback?
  • On a scale of 1-10, how likely are you to recommend us to others? What makes you say that?
  • Thank you for the feedback. I’ll act on it.

Be in a state of always stretching and growing. Get Better to build trust.

Thanks for reading,

Alan Feirer

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