Promising Practices Promising PracticesPromising Practices
A forum for government's best ideas and most innovative leaders.

Being A Better Leader: The Difference Between Reliability And Trust

ARCHIVES
Image via Nicoleta Raftu/Shutterstock.com

It’d be convenient to think that the world is a straightforward place, especially for those of us who are either in or aspire to be in positions of power in any capacity.

Whether we’re talking about a federal managers or entrepreneurs gathering a team for their next startup, we might like to think that what goes into success comes down to two things: finding people who produce good work and, as the authority, making sure things stay that way.

Author Simon Sinek, however, begs to differ. In a TED talk on leadership, he provides a compelling argument that trust is not only the lifeblood of success, but that being a leader goes well beyond simply fulfilling the expectations of a leader.

“Make no mistake of it,” Sinek says. “Trust is a feeling, a distinctly human experience. Simply doing everything that you promised you’re going to does not mean that people will trust you, it just means that you’re reliable. And we all have friends who are total screw ups and yet we still trust them. Trust comes from a sense of common values and belief.”

Sinek is the writer behind the book “Start With Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone To Action.” He is also a motivational speaker who has given many popular speeches on the subject of leadership, including this separate TED talk on the art of inspiring people to action.

Production and results are indications of the progression of any organization, no doubt, but Sinek says that focus should also be afforded to something less tangible, but perhaps much greater. He says it is trust that has the ability to inspire, push and motivate people to not simply succeed, but to act in ways that typically lead to revolutionary success.

“The reason trust is important is because when we’re surrounded by people who believe what we believe, we’re more confident to take risks,” the New Jersey native said. “We’re more confident to experiment, which requires failure by the way, we’re more confident to go off and explore knowing that there is someone from within our community, someone who believes what we believe, someone we trust and who trusts us who will watch our back, help us when we fall over and watch our stuff and look after our children while we’re gone.”

This is no groundbreaking discovery, and neither is his advice that has been re-popularized by the news. Simon Sinek did indeed speak these words over two years ago, but in a world that is seeing tech startups spring up literally everyday, with equally interesting stories and ambitions, it might be important to revisit the foundations that the legends of the industry embodied.

Steve Jobs, who left Apple and had to come back, Howard Schultz, who left Starbucks and had to come back, and Michael Dell, who left Dell and had to come back, were all businessmen who were not only good at what they did but, as Sinek reminds us, but also fueled their companies to the top by promoting visions that they got everyone at their companies to believe in — the significance of this ethic and their influence underlined by the fact that all of their companiesneeded them to return.

It’s one thing to be a consistently fantastic entrepreneur, but it’s a completely different thing to harness the power of trust. Trust is the idea that, lest we forget, is so strong that it influences people’s decision making in such big ways, like parents placing their kids in the hands of familiar teens rather than anonymous seasoned professionals.

“Think about that for a second,” Sinek says. “We’d rather trust our children, our most valuable possession on the planet, with somebody from within our community, with no experience over somebody with vast amounts of experience but we have no idea where they’re from or what they believe. Then why do we do it differently at work?”

The suggestion that Sinek makes is simple. If anyone aims to replicate the revolutionary success or, at the very least, the effectiveness of the greatest leaders of our time, he or she must accept that it’s important to consider the questions that those legends considered themselves.

“Why are we so preoccupied with someone’s resume, and where they’ve worked and what they’ve done for our competition?” Sinek asks. “And yet we never think to consider what they believe where they’re from. How can we trust them, how can they trust us?”

None of this goes to say that experience doesn’t matter but, after considering Sinek’s words, a better understanding of what it takes to succeed might follow and that understanding might align with something like this: once we marry a search for the right people (skilled people, good people) fueled by the the goal of finding common ground, motivation and beliefs between us, we will understand what great leadership is because it’s important to remember…

“Leadership tells us why we’re here in the first place, it reminds us why we came here. Authority tells us what to do or what goal to achieve.”

Image via Nicoleta Raftu/Shutterstock.com

FROM OUR SPONSORS
JOIN THE DISCUSSION
Close [ x ] More from GovExec
 
 

Thank you for subscribing to newsletters from GovExec.com.
We think these reports might interest you:

  • Sponsored by G Suite

    Cross-Agency Teamwork, Anytime and Anywhere

    Dan McCrae, director of IT service delivery division, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA)

    Download
  • Data-Centric Security vs. Database-Level Security

    Database-level encryption had its origins in the 1990s and early 2000s in response to very basic risks which largely revolved around the theft of servers, backup tapes and other physical-layer assets. As noted in Verizon’s 2014, Data Breach Investigations Report (DBIR)1, threats today are far more advanced and dangerous.

    Download
  • Sponsored by One Identity

    One Nation Under Guard: Securing User Identities Across State and Local Government

    In 2016, the government can expect even more sophisticated threats on the horizon, making it all the more imperative that agencies enforce proper identity and access management (IAM) practices. In order to better measure the current state of IAM at the state and local level, Government Business Council (GBC) conducted an in-depth research study of state and local employees.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    The Next Federal Evolution of Cloud

    This GBC report explains the evolution of cloud computing in federal government, and provides an outlook for the future of the cloud in government IT.

    Download
  • Sponsored by LTC Partners, administrators of the Federal Long Term Care Insurance Program

    Approaching the Brink of Federal Retirement

    Approximately 10,000 baby boomers are reaching retirement age per day, and a growing number of federal employees are preparing themselves for the next chapter of their lives. Learn how to tackle the challenges that today's workforce faces in laying the groundwork for a smooth and secure retirement.

    Download
  • Sponsored by Hewlett Packard Enterprise

    Cyber Defense 101: Arming the Next Generation of Government Employees

    Read this issue brief to learn about the sector's most potent challenges in the new cyber landscape and how government organizations are building a robust, threat-aware infrastructure

    Download
  • Sponsored by Aquilent

    GBC Issue Brief: Cultivating Digital Services in the Federal Landscape

    Read this GBC issue brief to learn more about the current state of digital services in the government, and how key players are pushing enhancements towards a user-centric approach.

    Download

When you download a report, your information may be shared with the underwriters of that document.