Sharpening the Edge – Trust and Leadership

By Stuart McRae
City Administrator
City of Sheridan, Wyoming

Right off the bat, I’ll tell you the following is a trick question.

If you knew a particular person to possess the highest degree of integrity and morality regardless of situation do you feel as though you could place your complete trust in them regardless of situation?

If you answered yes, what if the area you were trusting them had nothing to do with honor and integrity? Could they safely pilot an airplane with you and your family in the back or could they safely perform necessary welding inside a fuel tank? Everyday people are entrusted to skills such as these, but they do so because they are trained and competent in them.

As leaders, what are the competencies build trust? How can you apply and embed them beyond the workplace, into several aspects of your life to build your leadership capacity in all areas? According to Lee Cockerell, retired (and ‘inspired’) Disney executive, there are five competencies that leaders should have and hone.

Technical Competence

You should know the technical components of your job; that’s a given. You should work with your teams to continuously improve, and learn from one another as the work changes and shifts, shooting for performance excellence and positive outcomes for the work being done.

Management Competence

There are the how-tos of being a manager that typically run parallel to most leadership roles. This is all about the act of controlling, being on time, on budget, and safe operations. In prioritizing tasks to grow in this competency while keeping a healthy work/life balance evaluate two factors:

  • Think of what you did or didn’t do well yesterday
  • Think of the various roles you play, and the responsibilities you signed up along the way:
    • Marriage
    • Children
    • Job
    • Health
    • Aging Parents
    • (What’s your personal strategy vs you work or business strategy?)
Technological Competence

Are we embracing or resisting new technologies that could help us better communicate or be more efficient? Growth mindset is key, and practices in agility and resilience.

Leadership Competence

What is your leadership style? What will your legacy be? Trust defines leadership and leads to commitment – go all the way! Commitment is different from interest. Trust enables a deeper engagement.

Relationship Competence

This is really about humility. Trust never occurs without a relationship.

How can you self-reflect on your leadership behaviors this week?