Mark Cole: Hey, welcome to the John Maxwell Leadership Podcast. My name is Mark Cole. I get the privilege of having a trust relationship with John Maxwell. In fact, I've got a co-host today here, Chris Goede and likewise, just a great environment to build trust, but I've also been a part of busting trust. And so today I'm really excited about our subject, because we're going to talk about trust busters and trust builders. John's going to give you five things that will bust up trust in a relationship. And then we're going to finish today's lesson with five things that will build trust. Anton Chekhov is a Russian playwright and has written, in fact, he's considered to be one of the best writers, the greatest writers of short fiction in history. He made a quote that I was really reminded of today. He said this, "You must trust and believe in people or life becomes impossible."
That's what today is all about. It's about not only giving you things to consider that will break trust, but it's also things that will help you build trust within your teams, within your relationships, because that's what we believe makes great leaders. Now, today John's going to teach you, then my co-host Chris Geode and I are going to come back and we're going to build this out for you in how we apply this in John Maxwell's enterprise. So if you would like to download a free Bonus Resource, that will be fill-in the blank notes for you. That is specific to this lesson. You can go over to Maxwellpodcast.com/buildtrust, click on the Bonus Resource button, and you will be able to download those show notes. Now, here is John C. Maxwell.
John Maxwell: Let's talk about trust busters versus trust builders. And we're going to look at some characteristics of both. And we're going to ask ourselves the question, are you a trust buster, or are you a trust builder? Dr. Carol Clifton, who's a psychiatrist, had a lot of these thoughts that I pass on to you now. Let's talk about trust busters. First of all, what are some of the trust busters? Number one, breaking promises. Syrus said, “Never promise more than you can perform.” Moliére said, “Men are alike in their promises, it's only in their deeds that they differ.”
Breaking promises. Every one of us have known what it's like to have a relationship with somebody that broke a promise. Okay. It's trust buster. No doubt. Another trust buster is talking behind people's backs. That's just a true statement. Isn't it? Whoever gossips to you will be a gossip of you. If they're bringing that stuff to you, they're going to bring your stuff to someone else. Number three, another trust buster is being judgemental or critical. Or as John Murphy said, "You have to be little to belittle." I like that. Don't you? You have to be little to belittle.
Trust buster number four, twisting the truth. In fact, it was honest Abe, who said, "If you once forfeit the confidence of your fellow citizens, you could never gain their respect and esteem." Trust buster number five, taking care of personal needs and wants at the expense of others. In other words, when we, as a leader, put ourselves before others, it begins to violate the trust relationship. Again, always remember this, leaders go last. Leaders go last. Whenever anybody wants to be a leader, I always ask them why, because very quickly I'm going be able, by their answer, to find out if they're going to be a good leader or not. Because if they say "I want to be a leader, because how my goodness, I'm going to make more money. I'm going to get a parking space. I'm going to get this rank. I'm going to get this position." And then I know they're wanting to be a leader for the wrong reason, but if they're saying I want to be a leader, because I want to add value to people I want contribute into people's lives.
You see the greatest leaders are servant leaders and those kind of leaders understand leaders go last. It goes back to the old Westpoint principle than that is the fact that you serve the troops first, before the generals eat. You put other people first. Writer, Jamie Clarke says, "Once a trust is lost in any relationship it's like a mirror struck by a stone, the glass shatters, and although tiny pieces can be glued back into position, the mirror always shows the cracks. They are deep and they're numerous." Well, let me just say this before I go to trust me builders. In leadership, the greatest violation that you'll ever give the people that you lead is to violate their trust. There's nothing more harmful or hurtful than for people who have trusted in you as leaders for you to violate that in their life. It scars them for life.
So talk about trust builders. The first trust builder is keeping your word. In fact, there are a couple of words I want you to remember when keeping your word one. Is integrity, which means just to act in a forthright and truthful manner. In other words, we mean what we say. Consistency, that makes words and actions compatible. We do what we say. Integrity, we mean what we say, consistency, we do what we say. And then reliability, which is keeping promises. Which basically says you can count on what we do and say. And then finally, interdependence. Establishing a relationship, we are all in this together. Stephen Ambrose, a writer had a wonderful way of making history come alive. This is not in your notes, but it's very important. And here's what he said about former president Dwight Eisenhower. He said, "When associates described Eisenhower, be they superiors or subordinates, there was one word that almost all of them used. It was trust. People, trusted Eisenhower. For the most obvious reason, he was trustworthy. Disagree as they might, and they often did with his decisions. They never doubted his motives."
By the way, that's so key. You can disagree with somebody in the area of decisions and still trust them. But the moment you think their motives are not right, trust begins to erode. With his staff and with his troops, with his superiors and with his subordinates as with foreign governments, Eisenhower did what he said he was going to do. His reward was the trust placed in him. Ambrose, again, the writer goes on to say that "The selection of Eisenhower as Supreme Commander of the allied force was quite possibly the best appointment that President Franklin Roosevelt ever made. And he said it was because trust is so very important." Got that out of Pat Williams book, American Scandal.
The second trust builder is sharing respect to others. Respect is to consider worthy of high regard and esteem. When we respect one another, it begins to build trust. Again, this is not in your notes, but Sandra Vivas, Executive Director of the American Volleyball Coaches Association, said the best investment she ever made in her life was spending two years selling hot dogs at a concession stand in Dodger stadium. She said, "I learned very quickly, how perception is reality. The public does not look very highly on those people that are selling hot dogs, no matter what your background or education would be. It was a daily lesson," she said "In the subtleties of management, along with a dose of humility." What was the number one lesson that she you learn during our time at the ballpark? Treat everyone with dignity, no matter what their position in an organization. After all, if you lose your key to the gym, only the janitor can let you in. Sharing respect to others. A tremendous trust builder.
Number three, being dependable. When you are, and I are dependable it builds trust. Emerson said "What you do speaks so loudly in my ears I can't hear a word that you're saying." Michael Winston of Motorola has rightly said "Effective leaders ensure that people feel strong and capable." In every major survey, I underlined this in my notes, in every major survey on practices of effective leaders, trust in the leader is essential if other people are going to follow that over time. People must experience the leader as believable, credible, and trustworthy. And one of the ways trust is developed, whether in the leader or in other person is through consistency in behavior. Trust is also established when words and deeds are congruent.
Trust builder, number four, speaking the truth in love. Speaking the truth in love. We trust people who help us discover the truth, even if it is uncomfortable. Often the shortest path to a trusting relationship crosses through some feelings of discomfort. People will trust you more when they become comfortable being sometimes uncomfortable when they're with you. The truth, isn't always pleasant, help them get past their discomfort and move toward decisions that will benefit them and make them feel good. And if you can help people recognize the truth and deal with their discomfort, they will trust you.
Number five is to cultivate a trusting heart. If you want to be a trust builder, you and I need to cultivate what I would call a trusting heart. Dr. Redford Williams, Director of Behavioral Medicine Research Center at Duke University Medical Center in his book, The Trusting Heart Says, and I underlined this next statement, "Those who have a trusting heart are more likely to remain healthy throughout most of their lives and live long." He says that "such a heart believes in the basic goodness of humankind that most people will be fair and kind in their relationships with others." Now, let me just take a moment and give you a personal story or illustration of what I consider the value of being a trustworthy person. Back in 1978, I'm very young, still in my career. And I can remember I was doing a conference up in Canada and I had a new friend. He'd only been a friend of mine for a couple years. Tom Philippe with me on this trip at this conference.
One morning, we were having breakfast before I was going to speak that day. And Tom, who's much older than I am, and really is kind of a mentor father figure to me, very successful businessman, very successful person, we're sitting having breakfast together and he just shocked me. He said, "John," he said, "you're going to be very successful in your life." Now I wanted to do the best I possibly could, but I have never been really consumed with success. Or I just was trying to be the very best that I possibly could be. And when he told me that day that I was going to be successful in my life, I can honestly say it was a little bit of a surprise, but it was just a tremendous shot of an encouragement and adrenaline going through my body thinking, "Oh my goodness, somebody that I look at as successful thinks that I'm going to be successful."
Okay. But then what he said to me was very important. He said, "when you become highly successful," he said, "one of your biggest issues will be who can you trust? Because people will come around you with different motive and you will constantly be asking yourself, 'why are they approaching me? Why do they want to spend time with me?' You'll be asking questions that will question the trust in people." And then he said to me, "here's what I want you to know." He said, "you can count on me to be a trustworthy friend. I ask nothing from you, but I will always tell you the truth. And you can always trust me."
Now I can tell you that, that conversation that day didn't mean very much to me because I was still overwhelmed that he thought I was going to be successful. And the second thing is that I was a little bit naive and to be honest with you, I thought he was a little skeptical and a little bit cynical about if you become successful or you become influential, you'll have a hard time. I kind of thought, well, I don't think so. I think everybody will treat you really well when you've got position and title the money or whatever the process is.
And in my naiveness, I thought, eh, I think Tom's got a little bit of edge there that he doesn't need to have. Although I knew he was highly successful and I knew he was speaking from experience. I can tell you right now that conversation in 1978, I visited it hundreds of times and as God has blessed me and I have been able to see some things come pretty well in my life, I've had to ask the question, who can I trust? Why are they approaching me? What's in it for them? George McDonald, the author said it so well, "Few delights can equal the mere presence of one whom we trust utterly."
Mark Cole: Oh, I love that quote, Chris, that John finished with. "Few delights can equal the mere presence of one who we trust utterly." That concept, that there are environments to where trust can truly be unfiltered, unreserved and totally all in. I love that. I believe that. And I love that quote that he ended with. Chris, I'm glad to be on today with somebody that I trust somebody that I trust with our family. In fact, little short story on Chris Goede, who is hosting with me today. Chris did a very special thing for his son, Rylan, who now plays D1 ball. He did a very special thing for him. Chris, I think at the 13? At 13, he decided to find people in his life that he would like Rylan, his son, to learn from in his 13th year.
And then he put Chris on planes with them. He sent them to different cities with them. And I was one of those very few people that got to do that. And Chris, I can't... When I say I us, somebody, I literally filter through would I trust my family to be under that person's care. That's really the biggest filter for me. Chick-fil-A, we're great friends with them, they challenge their operators to ask the question, what kind of leader do you want to be? And the answer is the kind of leader I would want my 15 or 16 year old to work for. And I'm sitting here today and I'm looking at you across the table here in the studio. And I feel both trust for you and I feel trusted by you because of that one act of being able to speak into Rylan's 13th year.
Chris Goede: Well, I appreciate that. And he still talks about that day and talks about your authenticity, talks about your, what we like to call the red hair excitement and the energy around adding value to people. And Mark, I appreciate you saying that. Without a doubt, being a son of ours, Sarah and I, we completely trust you. And so...
Mark Cole: Thanks.
Chris Goede: No doubt that the time you spent with him has had an impact on his life. It reminds me of a quote that we like to talk about in cultures around organizations and with leaders is that "authenticity is a trust accelerator."
Mark Cole: Yeah.
Chris Goede: Doesn't mean we need to be perfect, right? You had the privilege of spending many, many hours with John and you guys have trust as you open up this call. John's not perfect. You're not perfect, but you guys are authentic. And one of the things I know Ryan took away from that was your authenticity. And so, man, I appreciate all the memories you just brought back into my mind as we started.
This is such a great topic. I think for leaders around the world, right now, with everything that we got going on, data coming in the data going out, remote teams, remote workplaces, all these different things. And I think people get into this trust. Do I trust that leader? Do I trust that individual? What is their motive? John talked about motive in this when we're talking a little bit about it. And one of the things I love, when John talks about a round motive is that there's a very fine line between what we define leadership as influence and manipulation. And that fine line is the leader's motive. And so if you guys don't take anything away from this lesson today, that Mark and I are going to unpack from John, man, really think about the motive of your leadership as John called that out in the second half. But Mark, let me start with this question for you.
Mark Cole: Okay.
Chris Goede: Do you believe trust is earned or given?
Mark Cole: Yes. Wow.
Chris Goede: Listen, listeners. I won't be invited back ever again, Mark just looked at me, said, "Well, thanks for putting me on the spot." And this will be the last one I've enjoyed my time over the last couple of years with you guys.
Mark Cole: So you know what? I love this question, Chris and we've talked about this before on, is it a chicken or an egg? Is there one without the other? Is there ability to earn trust before you are given trust? Should you trust your people before they have been given the chance to prove that they're trustworthy and I'm telling you... So for number one, let me say what John says. John puts a 10 on everyone's head and it's their responsibility to disprove his trust that they're a 10. And I love that. And then I hate it when it's time to apply it. But let me say this, in the life of a leader, in the life of a leader, I think it's yes. So as a leader, I feel the responsibility to lead.
I have, since I was five years old. I believe as the leader that I should extend trust to someone before they have proven trustworthy. I believe that's my responsibility as a leader. I should go first. I also believe that I should never demand people that follow me, people that look to my leadership, I should never demand them to trust me before I have demonstrated that I'm trustworthy. So it's a leadership perspective that makes me go, "Hey, if you're not the leader of the situation..." And by the way, we do not believe Chris, you spend your life proving this, we do not believe that leadership is position. So don't go positional on me in applying what I'm getting ready to say. Who is the leader in the environment that you're in?
If you're not the leader and you don't perceive yourself as the leader, because you're caught up in position or whatever is disqualifying you from feeling like you're a leader. If you don't feel like you're a leader, the person that is the leader should prove trustworthy before you give your trust. But if you're the leader, you should always trust first before someone proves trustworthiness and you should always allow people to take time before they trust you and your leadership, if you're the leader. So really, the answer is a posture of leadership. Yes, you should trust first and yes, you should allow others to wait until you prove yourself trustworthy.
Chris Goede: Well, I love that answer because it leads right into where John has taken us today because leaders and that's what we're here for. That's what our mission is. We want to add value to you and leaders right here john talks about these busters. And I just want to kind of throw this out because absolutely we should give that. But I also want you to be aware of those that are around you and in your or influence, there are things that could be busting your trust. And Mark, you talked about this just a minute ago and John says it in his fifth point here in the busters, where man leaders, we need to go last, right? He gave a great little illustration, military illustration in his lesson. But when our people feel us taking care of our person needs and our wants at the expense of others, which then again gets into this motive question that John challenges us, you are going to completely bust that trust and Mark to your, to your point, we've all worked for leaders that we trust.
We've worked for leaders that we haven't trust. Talk a little bit about your mindset as you lead our organization. As you speak to come companies around the world, leaders around the world, and add value to them. Talk a little bit about how personal you take this in regards to making sure that you put others first. I see you, our team, everybody in that's on this podcast, trying to helping us record it, and they see you live this out of putting other people in front of your own personal needs. Talk a little bit about why that's so important for you in order to maintain the trust of those around you.
Mark Cole: I decided a long time ago, Chris, when I first started having... This is the first thing that came to mind. I bet you you've never heard this illustration and you've we've worked together for years, decades. I decided a long time ago that I would never order something off of a menu on a business trip that I would not order if it was not me traveling with my family. I just never would. I would never travel a class of service on the company's dime that I wouldn't travel on my own dime. It's just a personal thing with me. Now I've worked alongside people, I've even worked for leaders who said, "Hey, let's go ahead and get this extra X, Y, Z, or whatever, whatever." And I've always tried to process it back to how I treat other people's stuff. Things, money, kids, would be the way that I would exactly treat mine.
Not better. I don't want to treat be people better than me because I should respect me. I should have dignity for myself. And I've met a lot of wounded people that treat others better than they treat themselves. That's not healthy either, but I don't want to treat somebody else's stuff with less value than I treat my own either. And John said something to me the other day, we're working on a particular business negotiation of how we're going to finalize one of our business integrations. And I was talking to John and I built out this whole thing, took 20 minutes to build out this process with John on how I'm thinking about this business transaction that he and I have. And about 18 minutes into my 20 minute explanation, he looked at me and he said, "do you know you proved how you're going to handle this 10 years ago when I let start handling my finances? You're taking way too long to explain something that you've already proven 10 years ago."
And that wasn't just John's impatient. He was making a big statement to me, Mark, even though there's a few more zeros right now, even though you have a little bit more control to take advantage of me right now, you've already settled that a long time ago. Here's the point that I'm making, you need to take care of... What John says is when you treat your own personal stuff more than you treat somebody else and let them cover your expense, you have broken trust. John really reiterated to me in that 18 minute interruption that he did. He went, "whoa, whoa, wait, we don't have this buster in our relationship. You treat my expenses as you would treat your own. We are good." And gang, I'm going to tell you, Chris, you do that. You're very conscientious about things like that. You want to be above reproach on how you treat the power and the resources of someone else that is someone else's when you're given that opportunity or you will bust trust.
Chris Goede: Yeah, I love the illustration and I want you to know Mark, that those conversations happen often inside our organization about you and your leadership when you're not even there. We're like we know where he is at. We know where he is going to go. We trust that's going to be the case. Let's... And so, man, I think it's a powerful example as we... What do they say? That your reputation walks in the door before you even ever get there. So think about that in regards to trust, when it comes to leading people. Now, Mark talked about when I gave him the question that will now no longer allow me to ever be back on the podcast again, he gave me the answer. He said, now leaders, listen, you need to understand, you've got to be continually building trust with your team so that they do trust you 100%.
And we're going to talk about one of the points here, Mark, that John talked about. Before I do that, I just want to share a couple things that came to my mind in regards to the environment and the culture of which we work in when you have trust. I think we need to understand that... I think Andy Stanley said this quote, where he said, "listen, your people need to hear your voice more than what you need to say." Especially during the last 12 to 18 months. And they need hear you. And so communication is so key inside your leadership, that it completely increases the trust and the engagement level of those around you. Don't forget that as a way to be able to build trust. And because I spend a lot of time in organizations. I have some statistics that I kind of jotted down here for our listeners in regards to that cultural leadership that comes with trust.
Three things I want to share with you. 60%, this is at Harvard Business Review, 60% of the team said that they enjoyed working in their job more if they felt like there was trust with their leader.
Mark Cole: Wow.
Chris Goede: 70% were more aligned with the purpose of the organization. So if there's not trust there, you got people that aren't even aligned with what you're trying to go after. And the final one, I just want to share before we jump in this last point was 66% felt more connected to their team members and their leaders that they do business with every day because there was trust. So there is data behind this, that leaders we need to be so intentional about building trust. Well, John talks about this fifth point that I know you are so passionate about when it comes to building trust, about cultivating a trusting heart. And this is something that you're passionate about. I'd love for you just to share a little bit about your experience and your leadership style around building trust with others about cultivating this heart.
Mark Cole: I talked about... We did a whole podcast just on the earning trust side of things, Chris. And I talked about the trust meter. By the way, if you would like to take that and really go deep with earning trust, you can go to our show notes, by the way, go to Maxwellpodcast.com. We have show notes there that just covers all the links and all the different things that we discuss. And we will link to that podcast episode of earning trust in our show notes. In that I talked about the trust meter, Chris. I picked this up from a friend of mine, Brandon Dawson, that shared with me how he created in his environment, a trust meter. So just imagine a meter on a dashboard. And there's a 100, there's a 80, 70, 50, 25. There's just this dial to a hundred.
He said anybody that gets on my team that is reporting to me when I give them a task, when I give them an opportunity to work on the team, they start immediately with 100% trust. Goes back to your original question, that by the way, it was so good you are coming back on a podcast by the way. And so everyone starts it's that 10 that John puts on everybody's head. Everybody starts with a hundred percent in the trust meter. You go, "Mark. I can't start with a hundred percent trust." Then you're not the leader. There you go. I just, I just helped you. You can't go into a relationship offering 100% trust, then I'm just going to tell the other person has the advantage. The other person has the edge on you. Now that's another way of saying what I said in answer to your question.
You've got to be the person that can step up and say, "even before you earn it, I'm going to give you a hundred percent." Somebody has to go first with it. So in our organization, Chris, everyone starts with a hundred percent. Today, I will tell you, you are at a hundred percent trust with you. We've had recently, we had some meetings to where I wanted you to step up as a business developer and all that stuff. None of that affected our trust, it was just a moment to learn. If we have a trust issue, listen to this leaders, if Chris and I who today, Chris is at a hundred percent trust meter with me, there is nothing affecting my ability to trust Chris at a hundred percent.
The day that he does something, character wise, missed responsibility wise, doesn't show up for a meeting I ask him to, and it's so severe that it affects my trust in him, My responsibility as a leader has to go to Chris and say, "Chris, that trust meter no longer says a hundred. It says 90. Because you're not showing up at meetings when I asked you to, you're not doing what I asked you to do. Your character is all over the place, Chris. You're at a 90." I have the responsibility number one, to go to Chris and say, it's no longer at a hundred. It's at 90. My second responsibility is to say, "I'm still the leader. Chris may have done something that destroyed my trust in him. Chris, you're at a 90 and this is how you can get back to a 100." Now listen leader, not only do you have the responsibility to trust a hundred percent even before trust is earned. You have the responsibility that when trust is depleted, you have to go and say, we're not at a hundred, we're at 90.
You also have the responsibility of not letting up on your leader. You have the responsibility to say we're at a 90 and let me tell you how you can get back to a hundred. And I'm not done with leader, you have one more responsibility. You have to give them a timeframe that they can work in to get that. Now here's the timeframe you can't say, "okay, on August the 15th or October the 15th, I'm going to have a hundred percent more trust in you." But you have to give them a timeframe that they have to work on the things that you give them. You can't leave them in purgatory with no certainty of the trust perspective, just because you have communicated. I don't trust you anymore. This is what you got to do to build trust. You've got to have a next step to come back and talk about trust.
So here's what I'm saying, leaders. The responsibility of leading is not a picnic. Especially in the areas of trust. Because you've got to go first. You got to stay longer. You got to be clearer. Even when you're ticked off. Even when you're frustrated at what they did, you have the responsibility of trust. Let me say one more thing on the trust meter, Chris. There is occasions that someone slips below 70% trust. And so just to put that into picture, if you give somebody a task and you question whether they're going to be able to deliver on that task seven out of 10 times, you don't trust them 70%.
If you feel like that, give Chris Goede a task. And six out of 10 times, he is not going to deliver. He has slipped below 70% and you need to have an intervention because you cannot have a culture where your trust is that you can't depend on somebody at least seven out of 10 times in a scenario. And guys, what does that mean? Because some of you are operating teams and trying to build cultures and you don't even know if you can trust somebody 50% of the time. It is impossible to build trust in that environment. It's impossible. You've got to have an environment to where trust is on the incline, not on the decline.
Chris Goede: Listeners, if you had not heard Mark talk about that trust meter before you need to rewind this podcast right now, get a piece of paper out, pull over the side of the road and take some notes because that was worth the entire podcast. Not taking away from John's lessons, because by the way, what Mark just gave us hit on about four out of the five trust builders. He just gave it to you in a really practical, applicable way.
Mark, as I throw it back to you to wrap up, here's what, as I was listening to you and I've heard you teach this before and it's so true. Here's what I kept thinking about how you have led me over time in leading my team. You said, "Chris, if you have to have hard conversations, you have to let somebody go, you got to give a bad annual review, and you walk into those meetings and the team member that you're going to have a conversation with is surprised by what's coming out of your mouth as a leader, it is your fault." And so if that is happening, there's no trust there by the way. That means you don't trust them to have those conversations. And that means they don't trust you, by the way, leader. And so to your point, you just laid out a perfect roadmap for us not to wait for those annual reviews, not to wait to, I got to bring somebody else in here. It is a process that you have to do and communicate on a daily basis.
Mark Cole: Here here, mic drop. All I'm going to say, because Chris just close us out. Wonderfully pass this podcast along to your team. Pass this podcast along to your family. Some of you are in broken relationships because you won't have the trust conversation. Some of you are in broken cultures because you won't have the trust conversation and what you're really saying, my dear friends, and my family on the podcast land, I'm not a leader because I'm not going to initiate the trust conversation. And quit getting hung up on the position and who's the bigger person and who has the most responsibility. You do, podcast listeners. You're the leader of your own life. You're the influencer. And I want you to become the leader of the trust conversation.
What a great podcast. I hope you've enjoyed it. Jake, thanks to you, and all of you, Jason, all the team that helps Chris and I turn the microphone on and sound good. And sound like we know what we're talking about because it is a team of people. And I'm going to tell you this, you are absolutely headed for an impossible life, as Anton said in our first quote, if you don't have an environment of trust. Thanks for joining us today. Thanks for making this podcast so impacting not only to you, but to others, give us a comment maxwellpodcast.com. Pass it along. Show up next week. And until then, let's change the world together with values based leadership.