1. If you delegate tasks, you create followers. If you delegate authority, you create leaders. –Craig Groeschel

Bridge of Trust

Last week I told the story of changes a new pastor made which because he had not established trust, resulted in a couple leaving the church. It was really an example of leader by coordination versus collaboration. Coordination is about controlling the decisions that make things happen. Collaboration is about getting others to carry the decisions. Coordination does not build trust and often breaks it. Collaboration builds trust, because it shows others we want the best for them and believe the best in them.

Trust is the bridge that leaders build to bring people together in order to get things done. In the long run, results happen faster and eventually more gets done, too. Trust is the ultimate conduit for the power to get things done. When trust goes up, results happen faster. The faster results happen, more happens.

We are always building or breaking trust. Do you know what those behaviors are that build or break trust? Behave in ways that increase trust.

1. Initiate

The bridge of trust is built with three pieces. The first is to initiate. It has been said, it takes two to create trust, but it only takes one to start it. Initiate trust by declaring your intent. What is your aim? Lay your cards on the table. What is your desire? Don’t make people guess what you want. Part of initiating might have to include righting past wrongs. Acknowledging past mistakes does not weaken your position, it makes it stronger.

2. Inspire

The second piece of building trust is to inspireI love the story of Nordstrom’s employee handbook. For years it was a card that simply said Use good judgement in all situations. That level of empowerment inspires a level of responsibility from employees Nordstrom is famous for. You may think that kind of blind trust cannot translate to the church. This is not blind trust though. At Nordstroms there is much accountability, education, and training. The Bible never advocates blind trust either.

If people aren’t inspired to trust, who’s at fault? The one, overarching activity of leaders in the church is to equip for serving. The raw material church leaders have to work with is superior to Nordstrom employees. The Spirit of the Living God resides in the people we work with. God—God!— has gifted people for good works. Perhaps it’s the leaders who need to be inspired to trust the people.

3. Involve

The final piece of building trust is to involve. It’s all talk until our actions line up with what we say. This is at the heart of collaboration. We may take the step to initiate trust. We may inspire trust. But in the end, if it’s my way or the highway, any results achieved will usually end up being carried alone. Like I said, collaboration is about getting others to carry the decisions.

Trust may be low inside your church, but it only takes one to initiate trust. It is not only in your power to inspire trust, but it is your responsibility to do so—it will cause others to take responsibility for what happens. Involve others in carrying what is being accomplished. Remember, how we do what we do makes all the difference. If you want to make something happen that others are involved in, involve them!

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