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Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Trusting Those Who Lead

I was consumed by the news related to President Trump and Russiagate. I wondered what happened and why? I worried about the kinds of events that have been inferred with regard to our democracy and good living in the United States. Then Mueller was assigned to the investigation and I relaxed. I relaxed because the reports about Mueller demonstrated that there is good reason to trust this man and the work he does. He's knowledgeable and appears to be ethical, the kind of person that will put country before an individual.

It's important that we have trust for those that lead us, and it's important that we engender trust in those we lead. As educators that means building trust with students and family members--how do we build that trust. For starters, we build the trust by good communication, listening, staying true to our promises, and providing good feedback. It sounds simple, but it's really not that simple as gaining trust requires steady attention and continual growth and development. I'm sure we can all point to efforts we can better to build greater trust with those we lead in the organizations we work in, contribute to, and support as well as with our families and friends.

How do we come to trust those that lead us?  This is an important consideration too.  We trust when an individual's behavior is predictable, reliable, and focused on the mission of their work. For example, if a leader acts erratically, we may become uncomfortable and untrusting wondering what will he/she do next? We trust when our leaders are reliable and do as they say they will or if they don't do as they say, they provide a good rationale for the change. Further we trust leaders who focus on the mission rather than ambition--those that constantly bring us back to the common ground we share. In schools, that would be good service to families and students by way of our education roles and efforts.

Trust also grows from the way we see leaders treat our colleagues and others. If a leader is fair, kind, and represents equity, we're likely to trust that person. The same is true in the classroom. Students will trust us if we are fair, kind, and equitable in our treatment of all students. Without this, leaders may be disregarded or even feared.

Trustworthy leaders are law abiding, respectful individuals who follow the norms of etiquette, good manners, and polite speak--they regard people with care not disdain. These leaders are not polarizing agents continually pitting one group against another, but instead working to bring people together with common interests, vision, and goals.

It's imperative that each of us consider if we are a leader that people in our communities, work places, and families trust. If not, it's important to look for ways to build that trust since trust is essential to the good work we do on our own and with others. This is a good topic to discuss with our students as well since if they begin at an early age to regard trust with belief and meaning, they will gain greater success and happiness in their lives.