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  • Writer's pictureKeith Haney

Trust is the Future of Leadership

"When communication decreases, uncertainty increases." Craig Groeschel

Never is this statement better illustrated than in the example below.

A television program preceding the 1988 Winter Olympics featured blind skiers being trained for slalom skiing, impossible as that sounds. Paired with sighted skiers, the blind skiers were taught on the flats how to make a right and left turns. When that was mastered, they were taken to the slalom slope, where their sighted partners skied beside them, shouting, "Left!" and "Right!" As they obeyed the commands, they could negotiate the course and cross the finish line, depending solely on the sighted skiers' words. It was either complete trust or catastrophe.

With the blind skiers' trust had to be earned. They started in a place where trust could be built safely. Craig shared a pivotal formula to create trust: Transparency + Empathy + Consistency = trust. As a young leader, all of those were hard at first. Today, we will begin with transparency.


What does that look like in leadership? It doesn't mean sharing the intimate details of your relationships like the fight you and your wife had about a troublesome staff person. Or the way a certain food interacts with your digestive system. That is being too transparent. But it means telling your team that there is a challenging meeting with the leadership about the church's financial future. Let me be transparent and share my story from my past.

We discovered that our school had not completed the proper forms once, and the auditors were coming soon. If they did not get those forms in order, the church would owe the state nearly five hundred thousand dollars. As you can imagine, we did not have that kind of money. Here is the kicker. I had a call and knew I would be leaving soon. I could have left this to the next pastor to deal with. Instead, I called an emergency congregational meeting, explained the situation calmly, and developed a plan to address the looming crisis. By the grace of God, the people of God stepped up and secured nearly all the proper paperwork before the audit. That level of transparency and trust we had built over eight years led people to trust and execute the plan. The lesson I learned in ministry is one Craig shares, "It's better to disappoint your team with a hard truth than to deceive them with a lie." Leadership is a series of trust test points. People look at the leaders daily, asking, " Can I trust you? Do you have my best interests at heart? People may be impressed with your talents, gifts, and strengths, but they connect with you deeper through your weaknesses.

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