Trust and Leadership

This week in the thoughts on Building Below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald are in the realm of trust.

On page 71 of his book MacDonald writes this:

One of my theories has been that a leader really does not begin to enjoy leadership “bite” or “traction” that is necessary to get things done until he or she has been leading for about five years.  Therefore, the fifth year and beyond are years where trust is all important because novelty and newness no longer exists.  As my father used to remind me, people will follow you for a while because they picked you.  But they’ll follow you over the long term because they have learned to trust you.

I have been at the church I am at for about 2 and a half years.  I know that there are some who follow me because I am still relatively new and because they have picked me to lead them but I still wonder about the idea of fully trusting me.  Now how do I build trust with them?

MacDonald lists off seven ways he has observed through the years (pages 71, 72):

  1. Trust builds with consistency – consistency of message, of vision, and of the management of people.
  2. Trust builds with dependability – If you make a promise, do you keep it?
  3. Trust builds with openness – In trustworthy people there is an absence of slickness, slogans, and strategies that do not offer the full message.
  4. Trust builds with reputation for hard work – There is a sense that the pastor is on top of the job of congregational leadership
  5. Trust builds with a belief that the pastor has an impartial pastoral eye for everyone – Treating everyone from the rich to the children to the poor with the same recognition.
  6. Trust builds with longevity – The Pastor hangs in for an extended period of time building relationships through ministry (funerals, weddings, baptisms, etc.)
  7. Trust builds with an ever-deepening spirit – Congregations want to feel that their pastor fixes his or her eyes on Jesus.
    Trust is one of those things in life and ministry that makes such a huge difference.  MacDonald I think hits on it with these seven things I believe.

What are your thoughts on trust?  Why do you trust the leader or leaders of your church?  How do you build trust and what would you add to this list of seven that MacDonald has?

This post is a part of the blogging on  the book Building Below the Waterline by Gordon MacDonald with two of the best bloggers out there – Bill Grandi from  Cycleguy’s Spin and Michael Perkins from The Handwritten .  We are sharing each Wednesday our thoughts from 2 chapters,  which means you will be able to see how God will l speak to us as individuals and then you if you read all three blogs you will see how God then weaves what we write all together.  I pray your are encouraged by the blogs.

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12 thoughts on “Trust and Leadership

  1. Great points on leadership and trust. In fact I have a person guest posting on this very topic tomorrow. Just a few thoughts, Trust can only be earned. Trust is the foundation for leadership. and trust is almost always built on difficult ground.

  2. I like and agree with GM here. I once had someone tell me that until I was 30 most people would not put much credence in what I say. :) He also told me that you must be in one place at least 3 years before people will trust you. Was Gordon saying 5 years in one place or 5 years overall? Good post today Jim. Love that we are doing this and so far have picked different topics each time.

    • Thanks for coming by Bill and adding it! I believe that he is saying 5 years in one place – I have heard that over the years and i see it to be true.

      Jumping over to your post on GM now – I am sure it will be off the chain!

  3. I think a consistent display of responsibility plays in on this as well. Leaders are going to make mistakes… how they recover from them and deal with them will create or disintegrate trust.

    • Dusty -Leaders are going to make mistakes… how they recover from them and deal with them will create or disintegrate trust. —> That is an excellent point!
      Thanks for coming by and adding to conversation!

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