Are You A Trusting Leader? Or Just A Leader?

There is a very common conception that a great leader must be in control of their team and have the trust of their team members. When the team faces challenges they rely on their leader to single-handedly assess the situation and guide the team through the challenge in order to reach success. This results in the leader taking control, leading from the front and being the decision maker. This leader is old school and research now shows that people crave a sense of belonging and have a need to feel included in decision making so that they can have their own personal say and influence whether part of a team, organisation or even a family.

I was forced to learn how to become a trusting leader and, to be honest, I did not have a choice. Before I lost 98% of my eyesight overnight at age 16 to a rare genetic syndrome, called Lebers Hereditary Optic Neuropathy (LHON), I coached an Under 16 boys basketball team. It was midway through the season when I lost my eyesight overnight and this forced my leadership style to change dramatically.

Up until losing my sight, I was in control of the team. I assessed situations and challenges throughout the game and created plans and strategies to conquer the challenges in order to win the game. After losing my eyesight, I could no longer coach and lead the way I had previously. No longer could I watch what was happening on the court and make decisions accordingly and independently. I realised very quickly that the way I lead had to change. Then it hit me, I had the solution right in front of me, my team.

In order to continue to lead and coach my basketball team, I had to trust my players. During the game I empowered my players to constantly communicate with me what was happening on the court, what challenges we were facing, what we were doing well and who was filling which role. My team were my eyes and together, with every players communication and valued thoughts, we would plan strategies to implement together in order to succeed.

This new style of trusting leadership worked wonders, even though my set of eyes were no longer seeing what was unfolding on the court. I had now empowered and placed trust in 8 sets of eyes which resulted in me seeing the game in more detail and clearer than I had ever seen it before. We were able to reach a higher level of success as a team than we previously had due to this new trusting form of leadership.

Trusting leadership works across the board, in teams, organisations and even families. But do not be alarmed, you do not have to lose your eyesight to become a trusting leader. Being a trusting leader not only relies on your own assessment of a situation it also relies on and takes into account the views and opinions of every player, employee or family member. This ensures your view of a situation is well rounded and larger than it ever could be with just your own set of eyes. Also, by empowering and trusting the members of your team, the performance will be better from your as they feel a greater sense of value, importance and belonging .

Try it today and the results will speak for themselves. Become a trusting leader, empower your team and get ready to truly succeed.

Amy Savage