Gift or Reward?

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My post earlier this week encouraged leaders to seek self awareness through the eyes of the people they lead. Why do we have to depend on others to increase our own self awareness? Because without self awareness, we can’t know how effective we are, and we don’t get to evaluate our own effectiveness. The people we lead do.

But let’s be honest. We can’t gain self awareness through others without trust. Our people are not going to give us honest feedback if we haven’t created a trusting environment.

So, here’s my question: Is trust a gift, or is it a reward?

In other words, is trust something that we get simply because someone wants to give it to us? Or is trust something that cannot be given but instead must be earned and rewarded?

{ 3 comments… read them below or add one }

Cheryl August 21, 2010 at 8:39 pm

I believe trust is something that must be earned and rewarded based on experience with that person. I don’t personally give my trust away cheaply, to me trust is something that is earned over time. The amount of time may differ depending on the type of trust at stake.

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Linda August 22, 2010 at 2:30 pm

Thanks for your comments Cheryl. These are excellent points. One thing we know for sure… no matter the pace that someone gives out their trust (early or earned) it is ours to cherish and it is also ours to lose if we don’t earn the right to keep it.

Trust is one of those “small things” that is SO POWERFUL… Powerfully good when you can count on it and powerfully sad if you can’t.

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Tedi August 30, 2010 at 1:44 pm

Trust is both a gift and a reward. First, as leaders, we must conduct ourselves so we are believeable, honest, reliable and more, to those we are surrounded by (or, more appropriately, to those we should serve). It is only then, that we can trust who we lead. It is a mutual response for both parties; we are each rewarded by trusting one another, and as a result we (each) receive the gift of that mutual trust.

Trust and respect, both qualities very important to me, go hand in hand. The leader who can be trusted, should also be one respected.

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