Last week I attended a meeting of 100+ Women of Westerville, a women’s giving circle dedicated to strengthening and enriching our community by supporting the important work of local charitable organizations. While we aren’t there yet, we’re rapidly growing toward the goal of 100 women, $10,000, one hour, one charity. Women changing the world!

One of our nominees (and the eventual recipient of this quarter’s donations) was a local organization called Neighborhood Bridges. The concept is simple and impactful: community members post a need and other community members fill the need. During the five minute overview, the CEO noted that requests are not vetted, explaining:

If we are going to build an organization based on love and trust, then we are also going to manage the organization with love and trust.

That statement got me thinking about today’s business environment.

A lot of people talk about love and trust in the workplace. Many books have been written on the topic. A quick Google search returned 3,750,000 results. And yet, across America, workplace morale is low. Turnover is high. Management is the enemy. “Trust and verify” has shifted to “verify, then trust.”

Instead of inspiring a shared vision and great work towards it, many companies manage by the “gotcha” moments. Instead of giving trust and enabling team members to act and lift their performance to new heights, managers believe that trust needs to be earned, requiring proof of trustworthiness, first. Instead of encouraging the heart, many teams are managed through fear. Instead of leaders modeling the way, team members see a misalignment between words and deeds. Instead of encouraging teams to challenge the process, submission to policies and procedures is the order of the day.*

If you lead a team, think about this:

Do you really love your people? Do you really trust them?

What message do your actions send?

Ask your team how they feel.


*Click here to read more about the Five Practices of Exemplary Leadership Model.

Photo credit: “Broken Love and Trust” by Kumar’s Edit, used with Creative Commons license.