Cover image for The trusted leader : bringing out the best in your people and your company
The trusted leader : bringing out the best in your people and your company
Galford, Robert M., 1952-
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New York : Free Press, [2002]

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xiv, 271 pages : illustrations ; 24 cm
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HD57.7 .G337 2002 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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Any good manager feels an intuitive need to build trust inside his or her company and among employees. This guide shows managers how they can build trust within an organization, between manager and colleagues, bosses and employees. It lays out the different kinds of trust, gives diagnostic ways to determine whether trust is missing and where it needs to be supplemented, and ways to restore trust when it has been betrayed. The book contains exercises and quizzes, as well as formulas that quantify the economics of trust and show its importance in an organization. Stories of managers and employees working through issues of trust in many different real-life situations covering many different corporate situations and scenarios (acquisitions, slow-downs, and internal and external crises) are also included.

Author Notes

Robert Galford, managing partner of the Center for Executive Development in Boston
Anne Seibold Drapeau is chief people officer of Boston-based Digitas

Reviews 1

Publisher's Weekly Review

With Wall Street teeming with questionable characters and their equally questionable practices, trust is a hot topic these days; Galford and Drapeau have perfect timing with their handbook for becoming an executive employees can actually put their faith in. A knitting-together of management theory, real-life anecdotes and snappy tools and self-assessment quizzes, the book tries gamely to be both authoritative and accessible. Its strongest section is a discussion of the "enemies of trusted leadership"-office archetypes ranging from power-hungry control freaks to underperforming slackers-who can undermine what a CEO is trying to achieve. The authors also share helpful tips on how leaders can handle brutal situations (e.g., mass layoffs) with the appropriate amount of class. Although at times weighed down with turgid writing and an overabundance of lists, the book succeeds in distilling what the authors readily admit is an "intangible:" the essence of great leadership. (Jan. 9) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved



Introduction This book about trusted leadership is a surprising, accidental byproduct of the work Rob was doing around the skills of trusted advisors (the topic of his first book, with David Maister and Charles Green). Rob was teaching in a series of executive programs jointly delivered by the graduate business schools at Columbia and Kellogg/Northwestern, for the executives of a single firm. In each of those thirty sessions, he asked the participants to rank themselves -- and then rank their colleagues -- on how trusted they were as advisors to clients and customers. The striking results of that particular survey question, repeated every single time, session after session, was that a sizable percentage of the respondents had little or no confidence in their own partners' abilities to build trust! If such a gap in the level of trust existed inside the upper levels of an organization, Rob wondered, how could the organization ever develop the trust of its customers? That question led us to explore just how to create and sustain trust among the members of a single organization. This challenge affects companies large and small, centralized and decentralized, global and local, and in our own work in recent years with and for companies of all sizes and shapes, we've personally learned a great deal. We wrote this book because we feel strongly that creating a community of trusted leaders who can then help trust permeate through all levels of an organization -- particularly in today's business context -- is critical to every company's long-term survival and success. We wrote this book because even though there has been a great deal published about the role of the leader in creating a successful company, no one has ever given due credit to the important implications of having an organization with a trusted leader. A lot of literature addresses trust in families, between friends, and in society, as well as trust -- and the related loyalty -- between company and client. But trusted leadership -- the force that guides and builds trust inside companies, between employees, between senior managers, across levels and departments -- hasn't received nearly as much attention. Part of the reason is a widespread misconception that trust is trust, and that if you understand the dynamics of trust in one arena, you'll understand them in any other. This is simply not so. Just to cite one example, consider the relationship between company and client. If trust breaks down, one party or another can usually exit the relationship, perhaps not without some difficulty, but with few, if any, long-term aftereffects. "That relationship is over, but no worries; there are other, similar, vendors (or suppliers, or consultants, or what-have-you)." Trust issues inside an organization, however, more closely resemble the relationships in families living under one roof. Individuals usually can't just walk away and forget, and every action or reaction has a lasting ripple effect. Yet trust issues inside organizations don't completely mirror those among family members either. Trust inside has its own unique set of dynamics. They are not widely understood, yet they are vitally important. Today's customer demands, the pressures to succeed competitively, and the new "employment contract" (the reality that there is no "employment contract" anymore) mean that trusted leadership is more important now than ever before. We have come to believe that creating organizations that are bound by strong, deep connections between peers, across levels, and across functions may be the only recipe for sustainable success. Trusted leadership is not a "new economy" versus "old economy" issue. Nor is it an issue that is solely the challenge of running a large company versus a smaller-sized entity. Our background research and review of trust-related episodes at a number of companies (ranging from $20 million technology firms to $20 billion multinationals) demonstrate that trusted leadership is, above all, an issue of human interaction, and, as such, requires constant and vigilant treatment. Trust is intangible -- like culture -- but it is useful to think of it as an "outcome" that results from very tangible processes. There are management tools you can use to become a trusted leader, and established, proven methods for sustaining trust inside and for repairing once-trusting relationships that have broken down. The Trusted Leader is primarily for people in senior leadership roles. It is presented in five parts. The first part, "An Overview of Trusted Leadership" (Chapters 1 through 4), defines trust inside, the characteristics and competencies of the trusted leader, and the natural enemies of trust, in broad strokes. It also includes a self-assessment drill, to help you define where you are in your efforts to become a trusted leader and build trust inside your organization. (We're list-happy, and we like to put our readers through the occasional exercise.) In Part Two, "Identifying and Applying the Tools of Trusted Leaders" (Chapters 5 and 6), we identify and demonstrate the tools of trust-building on personal relationships inside the organization and relationships between leaders and the organization. Part Three, "How Trusted Leaders Work" (Chapters 7 through 9), drills down into what trust looks like -- and how it can be created, reinforced, and strengthened -- across levels, functions, and locations. Part Four, "Defining Moments" (Chapters 10 through 12), identifies those critical junctures when trusted leadership is tested, and also pinpoints specific opportunities for building trust inside. In Part Five, "Building Trust in Perspective" (Chapters 13 and 14), we take a longer, more personal view, examining in detail how trust breaks down, what a leader can do in a situation where trust must be rebuilt, and also what it means to build a legacy of trust. Finally, in the Afterword, you will find information about how you can participate in our ongoing research on trust after you have read this book. All of the advice we offer is "pressure-tested." That is, it comes directly out of our research and work with companies of varying sizes that have experienced the pressures of roller-coaster change, market uncertainties, and strategic and operational turmoil. It comes out of leadership mistakes and successes we have observed. It also comes out of our own personal experiences as top managers working with middle managers and front-line employees. The real case examples we present throughout the book provide a level of detail that paints a clearer picture than a generic description ever could. Some are disguised (to protect both the innocent and the guilty), some are directly reported by the people involved. Some are several cases merged into one to emphasize a particular insight. They're all true, and we hope you think they're as compelling as we do in their illustrations of our theories. We should note that in the course of our writing this book, the Enron case rose to the fore, calling into question the very essence of trusted leadership. It was followed shortly thereafter by revelations at Global Crossing, Adelphia Communications, Tyco, WorldCom, and others. We haven't dwelt on those cases, but we have included examples that are representative of some of the problems that those companies experienced, particularly since, to us, Enron's saga is, for example, the Perfect Storm of how trusted leadership goes awry. One of the most interesting aspects of that debacle has been its effects on Arthur Andersen and many other entities. (To be sure, this book does rest on the premise that the reader is trustworthy. In no way are we attempting to show people how to feign trustworthiness!) September 11, 2001, also hadn't happened when we began to write. That tragic event has had a profound, enduring effect on how employers and employees think about what trust represents within organizations. It has highlighted the responsibilities of leaders and companies regarding the personal safety and emotional well-being of their employees. The influence of that horrific day and the issues it rediscovered are throughout the book, most prominently in the chapter on trust in times of crisis. The ongoing issues of trust and trusted leadership in organizations have led us to create a Web site, We invite you to visit us there in order to contribute to the conversation. In the meantime, we hope that this book will help you become a better leader, more capable of building and sustaining trust-based organizations than before. With trusted leadership, organizations are better positioned to weather any crises and to seize any opportunities for success in the marketplace over the long term. Copyright (c) 2002 by Robert Galford Chapter Two: The Trusted Leader Self-Assessment Figuring out where you are, so that you can more thoughtfully plot your course forward, is a useful investment of time. Hence this self-assessment drill, designed to give you a starting point to use in the process of becoming (or remaining) a trusted leader. Some of the questions may seem, at first blush, to have a "right" answer. That's not always the case, however. Many of these questions are designed purely to make you reflect, or to force you to hear the views of those who might be better suited to provide an objective response. Those two activities, reflecting on one's own progress and hearing the objective views of others, are part and parcel of trusted leadership. The Trusted Leader Self-Assessment ------------------------------------ Please indicate your level of agreement or disagreement on the 1 to 5 scale shown underneath the statement. (Circle one) Section I (Questions 1-5) 1. The people I have hired are smarter or more talented than me. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 2. The people currently reporting to me are smarter or more talented than me. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 3. I have played a significant role in the development of people in this organization who are outside of my direct area of responsibility. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Never...Rarely...Sometimes...Usually...Always 4. At least two or three people in the organization would regard me as an active yet informal mentor. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 5. I give people more latitude for error than do most other executives. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly Section I Total (Questions 1-5): Please add the numbers you have circled in your responses to each of the above questions in this section and write the total here: Section I Total:______ Section II (Questions 6-11) 6. The people I lead have a clear, explicit understanding of the desired leadership characteristics of the organization. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 7. I openly praise the people who work for me. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Never.....Rarely.....Sometimes.....Usually.....Always 8. People working for me feel free to disagree with me publicly. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 9. People understand the evaluation and reward standards I have established, and consider them equitable. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 10. I am considered highly trustworthy by my direct reports. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 11. I trust my direct reports implicitly. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly Section II Total (Questions 6-11): Please add the numbers you have circled in your responses to each of the above questions in this section and write the total here: Section II Total:______ Section III (Questions 12-15) 12. There is a succession plan in place for me, and I have shared it explicitly with someone who could implement it if necessary. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Kinda Sorta...Agree Strongly 13. I have explicitly told my potential successor how valuable he or she is to the organization, and to me personally as well. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Kinda Sorta...Agree Strongly 14. I know what my legacy to this organization will be. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Kinda Sorta...Agree Strongly 15. The individuals in this organization could easily articulate what my legacy to this organization will be. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Kinda Sorta...Agree Strongly Section III Total (Questions 12-15): Please add the numbers you have circled in your responses to each of the above questions in this section and write the total here: Section III Total:_________ Section IV (Questions 16-20) 16. This organization (or my part of it) would be in fine shape tomorrow if today were suddenly my last day. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 17. This organization (or my part of it) would be in fine shape two years hence if today were suddenly my last day. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 18. Everyone in this organization knows how we make money. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 19. Conflicts are resolved in my organization in a healthy and timely fashion. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Disagree Strongly...Neither Agree nor Disagree...Agree Strongly 20. I explicitly discuss the importance of trust with the people in the organization. 1.............2.............3.............4.............5 Never.....Sometimes.....With Great Frequency Section IV Total (Questions 16-20): Please add the numbers you have circled in your responses to each of the above questions in this section and write the total here: Section IV Total: ________ Tabulating Your Self-Assessment The tabulation of this self-assessment is designed to get you to reflect and become more aware of the context in which you work. Armed with that awareness, as you read through the book, we hope you'll find a myriad of useful ways you might take action to improve your score and achieve your goals. If your numbers are low, please don't interpret them as indicating you are not cut out to be a trusted leader (not that you would anyway, we hope!). A low score may indicate, however, that you will have to reallocate some of your priorities, your time, or your approach to those activities that can help you generate the form of trusted leadership you seek to achieve. The value of the self-assessment comes in figuring out what comes next for you as you hone the skills of a trusted leader. Interpreting Your Self-Assessment: The questions in each of the four sections were designed to highlight the broad steps that leaders can take as they build their careers, and the questions they should continually ask themselves along the way. If you look at them as they are grouped, you might well see that certain areas require more attention from you than others. Take a look, section by section. Section I (Questions 1-5): Here's what it means: Section I focuses on the course you are setting for your organization, trust-wise, for the future. While a total of 20 points would mean that you have done a terrific job in this area, having picked up on the importance of hiring people who truly are better than you, and giving them lots of leeway to learn and risk, don't be fooling yourself about this. Do you really think they're smarter or better? A lot of people put on the false modesty posture here. But be honest with yourself. If they really are not smarter or better than you, you'll do yourself no favors when the chips are down. Find people who are. You also can't be complacent about this, either. That's what Question 2 (about those currently reporting to you) is all about. Organizational needs change, and offerings to clients and customers change, too. If your direct reports aren't equipped to meet those changes going forward, just imagine how the people below them will do. Finally, Question 5 (about giving your people more latitude for error) has a tricky element to it. If you gave yourself a 5 here, make sure it's for the right reasons, and not because you tolerate continued under-performance. It's very, very hard to take people out of their roles, or off assignments, or fire them. People just hate to do it, especially to people on their team who have been loyal, or formerly successful, or have been helpful to one's own career. It almost seems internally inconsistent, trying to be a trusted leader on one hand, and firing people with the other. So if you gave yourself a "5" on this one, be careful. Section II (Questions 6-11): Here's what it means: This section examines how well you understand and model the appropriate leadership behaviors for your organization, and for your role. The questions in this area look closely at three particular issues that can affect your success in building trust: 1) the clarity with which you have articulated the behaviors you expect and will reward, and that presumably they are healthy ones; 2) the openness of the work environment, in people feeling that they can disagree with you without onerous consequences; and 3) your ability to be both trusted and trusting. Pay particular attention to your response to Question 11, regarding your implicit trust of your direct reports. It checks up on you as a trusting leader, which is one of the identifying characteristics of trusted leaders. If you have scored yourself in the 21-24 point range, then you are truly a role model for others, setting a workplace tone that makes people really want to be there. Section III (Questions 12-15): Here's what it means: This section helps you to evaluate your progress in thinking about your legacy. It isn't easy. For many readers, the questions in this section could seem irrelevant, especially in the earlier stages of one's career, or if you have not yet fully settled into your organization or role. You may currently be far more focused on getting it right in the first place than on getting ready to leave it well-tended, or in good order. If you are truly in such a situation, you might be tempted to disregard the section. But don't use it as an excuse. You can (and should) be thinking about this early on in your career. If you have been in place for a while, then Question 13 (about telling your successor how valuable he or she is) can be among the stickiest. If you are uncomfortable about letting someone know prematurely that he's your designated successor, it still doesn't absolve you of the responsibility of being absolutely certain (and therefore explicit) about his importance to you and to the organization. While that may edge too close to the "mushy" or overly affectionate for your taste, please don't make the mistake of assuming he knows it, and just skip this. It's far too easy to take it for granted, and it might be something you could come to regret. Section IV (Questions 16-20): Here's what it means: The final section focuses on clarity, trust and sustainability. Pay particular attention to your response to Question 18 (regarding how well people understand the company's basic business and value propositions). Time after time, in company after company, it continues to dismay us how few employees really do have a good grip on how their company actually makes money. Finally, take a close look at your response to Question 20 (talking about trust). While trust is shown more through actions than words, there is great value in making sure your people know how important it is to you. Just think what can happen if people understand that deeply. It will bring out the best in your company, your people and in you. Total Score: What It Means Where do Trusted Leaders end up in total scores? That is hard to say, as great strengths in one or more areas can help compensate for less-than-perfect scores in others. Here are some very rough guidelines, based upon an as-yet statistically insignificant body of results. If your total is less than 60, either you are way too self-critical, or you have got some work ahead of you. It makes sense for you to do some close looking at why the numbers are where they are. Are all your subsection averages 3.5 or below? Is it just in one or two particular subsections that they fall into this category? If your total is between 60 and 80, then you are in a range of where the plurality of people in leadership roles fall. You may be a good performer in a particular environment, thus the question that arises is how easily would you make the transition should that environment or the surrounding circumstances change. If your total is between 80 and 90, then you are probably working with some clear successes in the realm of trusted leadership. You are probably finding more of your challenges to be specific, identifiable ones rather than general issues of overall effectiveness. If your total is 90 or above, you are doing very well, and given that, it would be helpful for you to examine how to raise the bar of performance for your entire organization. At the same time, remember that this is a self-assessment. With this high a score, it makes sense for you to have a number of people rate you anonymously on these dimensions. If your self-assessment matches their ratings, then you truly are a trusted leader. We put this self-assessment early in the book so that you could locate, for yourself, a starting point. But we encourage you to revisit these pages often. We believe that this type of reflection is something that trusted leaders should engage in regularly. Copyright (c) 2002 by Robert Galford Excerpted from The Trusted Leader by Robert M. Galford, Anne Seibold Drapeau All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.

Table of Contents

Introductionp. xi
Part 1 An Overview of Trusted Leadership
1 What Is Trusted Leadership?p. 3
2 The Trusted Leader Self-Assessmentp. 21
3 The Characteristics and Competencies of the Trusted Leaderp. 29
4 The Enemies of Trusted Leadershipp. 43
Part 2 Identifying and Applying the Tools of Trusted Leaders
5 The Tools of Building Personal Trustp. 73
6 The Tools of Building Organizational Trustp. 89
Part 3 How Trusted Leaders Work
7 From the Topp. 117
8 Inside Teams, Departments, Officesp. 129
9 Across Teams, Departments, Officesp. 145
Part 4 Defining Moments
10 In Times of Changep. 165
11 When People Leavep. 181
12 In Times of Crisisp. 195
Part 5 Building Trust in Perspective
13 Trust Lost, Trust Rebuiltp. 209
14 When You Leave: The Legacy of Trustp. 229
Afterword: The Trusted Leader Continuesp. 251
Notes and Referencesp. 253
About the Authorsp. 257
Indexp. 259