Yesterday evening we’re sat round the dinner table, all five of us, having a chat about the day as we often do. Eden, who is 10, has just had a couple of friends knock at the front door: “Can Eden play out?”
We’ve said yes to this a couple of times, and sometimes we’ve said no.It’s a tricky challenge for any parent. How much freedom do you give and have much do you exercise control and parental authority?
We got into a conversation about how Eden might get more freedom and have mum and dad say yes to her more often, and also extend the boundaries of her freedom so she can travel further and stay out longer.
She’s a smart kid and she got it quickly.
“If I keep to the rules when I am allowed out (get back at the agreed time…call if plans change etc), then you’ll trust me more and therefore I’ll get more freedom.”
It’s exactly the same in life, work and business for all of us. If we deliver on what we promise, or what is asked of us, we build trust.That gains us more credibility and ultimately responsibility. If we want to expand the scope of what we do, build trust. There’s no point saying the equivalent of “I’m a good kid, trust me!” – we have to earn it.
This is true in relationships with our customers, the teams we lead and manage, our own managers and leaders…as well as our friends and family.
A few years ago I was hosting a leadership seminar and the speaker, who was extremely experienced as a senior leader in a major corporation said something I’ve never forgotten:
“The most important thing to being an effective leader is simply to always do what you say you’re going to do.”
Challenging words. Extremely important words.