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TRUST LEADERSHIP LEARNING ACTIVITIES

Activity 1: Current Status—A Feedback Activity on Trust

Instructions. The Trust Status Inventory allows you to examine your current feelings toward other work community members. Completing this inventory lets you examine unexpressed feelings of trust or distrust within your ongoing work community and to clarify the reasons for these feelings. It may also help you increase your own feelings of trust within the community and promote self-disclosure and risk taking. Assessing these feelings can provide a basis for subsequent assessment of your trust levels in any work community.

  1. Complete all the following questions. You may want to share with colleagues any of your answers after completing this inventory.

    Trust Status Inventory

    Name: _________________________________ Date _________________

    1. How did you feel as you joined this work community?

    2. How do you feel right now?

    3. Which person in this work community do you feel the most positive about right now? Describe what makes you feel good about that person.

    4. Toward whom in this work community do you react most negatively right now? Describe what that person does that produces this negative feeling.

    5. What prevents you from being more open and honest in this work community?

    6. Which person in this work community do you perceive as feeling the most positive toward you right now? Why do you feel that this person feels positive about you?

    7. Which person in this work community do you perceive as feeling the most negative about you right now? Why do you feel that this person experiences negative feelings toward you?

  2. Rate each of your work community members on a 5-point scale according to how much trust you feel toward him or her. Use “1” to indicate “very little” and “5” to indicate “very much.”

    Name

    Rating

    1. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    2. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    3. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    4. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    5. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    6. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    7. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    8. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    9. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    10. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    11. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    12. ___________________________________________

    ____________

    Total Score ____________

    Total Score Average Score = (Total Score)
    N

  3. For those individuals to whom you have given low trust ratings, list several ways in which

    1. You can change your behavior to increase your feelings of trust toward them.

    2. They might behave to allow you to feel more trust toward them.

Note 

You may begin by answering questions 3 and 6 to identify behaviors that contribute to feelings of trust. Questions 4, 5, and 7 may be examined subsequently to identify behaviors associated with distrust.

Activity 2: Dimensions of Trust—A Symbolic Expression

Instructions. Although most individuals will acknowledge the need for trust in relationships, it is often difficult to relate the term to the feelings involved in the expression of trust. The following activity may help you internalize your own perceptions about what elements and feelings are involved in trust and explore these ideas thoroughly with others.

  1. Using a variety of drawing materials, draw a picture that symbolically represents trust concepts as you perceive them. (Use any drawing materials easily available to make your drawing.)

  2. Further, prepare some statement about your trust model.

  3. Be expressive and creative in both your drawing and your statement so that what you indicate will aid both you and others you may share it with in understanding the dimensions of trust on which you are focusing.

Activity 3: Conditions That Lead to Conflict or Trust

Instructions. In this activity, you will be able to locate the conditions in any work community that help or hinder the free exercise of trust and identify those conditions that apply to your specific work community. By completing this activity, you should be able to assess the trust level in your work community and exercise greater intracommunity dedication to trust others and cooperate more fully in work-community work tasks.

Note 

This activity is best done by the reader in conjunction with a small group of coworkers. Of course, it can be done alone, but consensus-building is hampered.

  1. Make a list of all of the conditions in any work community that maximize creativity, individuality, and trust.

  2. Make a list of all the conditions in any work community that minimize trust and maximize dependency.

  3. Underline those statements in each of the above lists that describe conditions that presently exist in your own work community.

  4. Analyze your two personalized lists.

    1. Identify the conditions contributing to conflict in your workplace.

    2. Identify those conditions in your work community essential to a trusting culture.

    3. List any insights into your own work (work community) you have gained.

Activity 4: Trust as an Indispensable Factor in Inner Leadership

Instructions. Both theory and practice confirms that trust is a necessary ingredient in any interpersonal relationship. It is therefore of vital interest to the student of leadership.

  1. Read the following brief statement about current research about trust in organized work communities.

    The qualities that describe the cultural context within which leadership takes place are as significant as the personal qualities of the leader. The leadership context is a climate of mutual, cooperative interaction where leader and led are united on values terms and trust each other enough to risk self in participation in joint activity. In such cultures both leaders and followers can be free to work together because they trust the purposes, actions, and intent of others.

    Trust is central to inner leadership in work communities because followers are people who choose to follow leaders. No collaborative work can be done over time without some measure of interpersonal trust. The culture the leader creates produces a trust environment where the leader can be assured that certain actions will produce certain results. It may also constrain willingness to trust. A given culture may allow some to trust one group more or less than another; but without the constraints imposed by the ambient culture, nobody couldt exercise trust at all.

    We can define trust as reliance on the integrity, or authenticity, of a person or similar qualities or attributes of someone (or something) in the absence of absolute knowledge or proof. In essence, we base our trust on faith in another person.

    Nevertheless, in the final analysis, the information we use to base our trusting behaviors must eventually prove accurate, or we withdraw our trust. Trust becomes both an expectation and a personal obligation to be authentic, trustworthy, reliable, which is provable by ensuing experience.

    It may not be an overstatement to suggest that trust is the foundation upon which cooperative action between individuals and work communities, the firm, even the nation, is built. It is only when work-community members trust one another that we can say that leadership is a part of the work-community dynamic. You must consider the degree of interactive trust in your work community as you develop your leadership style. You must also spend time in creating the kind of harmonious culture that lets trust relationships develop and flourish because the specific features of the ambient culture conditions what you (all leaders) do and how you do it.

    Seen this way, your prime leader task is to create a culture supportive of your desired values. As your followers internalize these cultural values, they develop a devotion to the institution that cannot come in any other way. They come to trust your leadership, the vision, and the common tasks. The job is not simple. It is fraught with difficulty and pitfalls. Given this reality, your leadership role is to create and institutionalize value-laden cultural principles in the work community and then teach them to followers who then internalize them in their actions.

  2. Identify and analyze the ideas contained in the above statement. List these key ideas.

  3. Prepare a response to these ideas—either agreeing with all or some of them or disagreeing with them as important from a leadership point of view.


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