We have all had a leader who we didn’t respect or like. In that experience, no matter how intelligent or charming or even highly competent this leader appeared to be, you knew that placing blind trust in him or her would be a mistake. You were always watching your back waiting for the sucker punch to come.
My first real experience with this came fairly early in my career during an off-site team building event put on by my senior team leaders. The task at hand was to walk across a high beam two stories above the ground with a harness, where the only person there to support me was my immediate boss. To this day, almost 15 years later, I can still feel the lurch in my stomach at the thought of having to trust this person. At that moment, I suddenly realized I did not feel confident that my boss could aid me safely cross the beam, let alone on my career path. The problem is, once fear creeps in, you become paralyzed. At that specific moment, my lack of trust allowed fear to become my primary motivation. That day, it took me three hours to finally complete the task.
I've learned that it takes time to build up trust and that it only takes suspicion - not proof - to destroy it. What happens to you as a leader if your opinions are not trusted? Will your decisions and evaluations be welcomed or will they be put to the sidelines?