Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God.
— 1 Peter 5:2 (NLT)

I am about to complete my first semester of a Masters in Spiritual Leadership program at Olivet Nazarene University in just a few weeks. It has been an intense, draining, and life-changing experience thus far.

One topic that has been a theme the last few weeks in my studies has been Trust. In an incredible book titled, Strengths Based Leadership by Tom Rath, he explains a study that was done in search of the basic needs that a follower is looking to a leader to provide. In many leadership books and articles, they focus on the styles, principles, and methods of a leader, all of which are beneficial and needed. But this book took a totally different approach and looked at leadership from the perspective of those who are following them.

In Rath’s book, I came across the “Followers’ Four Basic Needs” in which he describes the results of their research. They discovered that what followers are looking for in their leaders are: Trust, Compassion, Stability, and Hope. Today, we will focus on Trust.

Humanity’s need and desire for trust is something that can be found in each of us. I know that I searched and searched for friends and people that I could trust, and seemingly always wound up disappointed and hurt by others who betrayed my trust. I was fortunate enough to have someone come into my life and remind me that I cannot control someone else’s trustworthiness. I can, however, control how trustworthy I am to others. I set out to be someone that others could look to and find that it is possible to trust someone, and hopefully they become a person of trust to others as a result.

When it comes to trust in your leadership role at work or at home, do you find that you talk a lot about trust? Tom Rath says that the more teams and relationships have to talk about trust, the less they are likely to actually trust one another. But for those who have built trust in one another, they rarely ever have to talk about it. Trust is something that is an established, intrinsic part of the make-up of their team.

Maybe you feel there is a lack of trust in your team or other relationships outside of work. Here are a few tips to build trust:

- Be trustworthy. If you say you are going to do something, do it. Lead the way in building and establishing trust in your team by being trustworthy yourself. 

- Live and lead with integrity and honesty.

- Build relationships with those you are leading. “Relationships flat-out trumps competence in building trust” (Rath 85). Take an interest in who they are, who they want to be, their strengths, passions, and goals. Use your leadership role to come alongside them and help them reach their full potential. 

- Be consistent. It may take months, even years to gain someone’s trust in you. It will take minutes to destroy it.