Trust is Essential By Howard Rich
Trust is Essential to the Steward
Trust is a scary thing, requiring me to become vulnerable and open to criticism, which may result in hurt feelings, pain, and frustration. However, I know my life is probably less vibrant and fulfilling because I failed to trust people God put in my path while on my journey with Him. As I think back over my work career and the teams I have been a part of, I sometimes wish I had been more vulnerable and trusting, especially when I think of damaged relationships. I wonder how my life would be deeper and richer if I had trusted those team members more easily.
Steward leaders who build teams realize trust is powerful; allowing information to flow more openly contributes to workforce productivity and amplifies the labor of the entire organization. Maintaining trust and confidence is crucial to the leader’s ability to continually influence in a way that encourages the team to develop a stewardship mentality. Conversely, holding information closely quickly cripples those who would have benefited from access to that information.
Steward-minded leaders see employees in a positive light and definitely not as their own, but as belonging to God, entrusted to the steward to be nurtured, equipped, and encouraged to excel. When employees feel trusted it leads to transparency, and transparency leads to greater participation in fulfilling the purposes of the organization. Without trust and transparency, employees guard their territory, do not share information or resources, and pull away from the organization’s goals.
Steward focused organizations cannot afford to give lip service to employee value, satisfaction, and trust. Organizations wanting to build a stewardship culture must shift from viewing employees as a means of accomplishing its goals, to helping employees attain fulfillment within the organization. This shift will take the focus from employees joining organizations to organizations collaborating with personnel to unleash potential in the workforce. Leaders should look for ways to match employee talent with training in order to connect personnel with the organization’s mission.
There is a symbiotic relationship between employee and employer, and trust is often the glue holding those relationships together. As I move through my life and live out the leadership responsibilities God has given me, I increasingly realize I need to trust more, not less.
Howard Rich is the Director of Operations for the Network of International Christian Schools (NICS).
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